The Last House on the Left

Composed By: John Murphy

Distributed by: La-La Land Records

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


            When Mari (Sara Paxton) and her friend planned their trip, they never expected to be kidnapped on their very first night at the Collingwood lake house.  Their kidnappers, a prison escapee and his crew, leave Mari for dead.  Somehow, she makes it home to her parents (Tony Goldwyn and Monica Potter).  Unfortunately, her attackers unknowingly seek shelter at the same place…but who is this unfortunate for?

            The musical score of The Last House on the Left is composed by John Murphy.  A British composer, Murphy began composing music for film in the 1990s, creating musical score for such films as Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Snatch, 28 Days Later, Miami Vice, Sunshine and 28 Weeks Later.

            Meeting with director Dennis Iliadis, Murphy was shown several scenes from the film and was “blown away.  It was as beautiful as it was shocking.  It had these two extremes going which I love to work with.  Beauty and dread.”  Thus, John Murphy set out to create a soundtrack that was a unique blend of both extremes.

            When I first sat down to listen to The Last House on the Left Soundtrack, the room was ominously dark.  The weather had taken an unexpected and severe turn, thunder vibrating the floor and walls as water cascaded against the window panes.  What better time to listen to the soundtrack of a thriller than right in the midst of a rather ominous rain storm?

            At first, I was surprised.  A couple of the tracks projected a sort of innocence and serenity, not what one would expect from the soundtrack of a film of this caliber.  But then the music took a turn, electric guitars and percussion sending chills through you as the pace of the action in the film changed.  Bass guitars wailed and beats pounded.  Reverb and disjointed noises put the spook into you as you wondered just what was happening in each scene.  Just as the music started to get your adrenaline pumping, things calmed down and the beauty made a short return…but only a short one as something horrific changed the tone.

            John Murphy was utterly successful in blending beauty with dread in his soundtrack for The Last House on the Left.  Would I purchase this soundtrack as a stand alone album?  Unfortunately, I would have to say no.  While I must admit that the weather played a good part in raising my hackles while listening to this music, it just wasn’t different enough to make me want to purchase the album for use on Halloween.  I surely wouldn’t want to purchase it for my soundtrack collection as there is not enough of the beauty side of things to keep me interested.  The Last House on the Left Soundtrack is one best left playing along with the visuals of the film. 


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