June 10th, 2008 | → 0 Comments | ∇ Films |

Funny Games U.S. (2007)

by Ghastly McNasty

Funny Games US Movie Poster

Funny Games (2007) is an English language remake of Michael Haneke’s 1997 Austrian film of the same name. I’ve not seen the original so I can only give you my opinion of this version. However, this film is a direct shot by shot re-make of the original, the director wanting to bring his film to a new audience, without losing any of he impact that made Funny Games a highly acclaimed hit in Europe.

The hapless victims in this film are Naomi Watts and Tim Roth who play a happily married well off couple who are taking their yearly boating holiday with their young son. Pretty decent names for a film that is clearly too dark for mainstream America. The happy couple have retreated to their summer home on the lake and while Roth’s character George is out the back checking over the boat an unusually dressed polite young man has dropped in to the house to borrow some eggs. Initially Ann, played by Watts, is more than happy to oblige but it soon becomes clear that the unexpected visitor isn’t really after any eggs, he and his similarly dressed companion are more interested in playing their sinister funny games.

What follows is the physical and psychological torment and torture of the couple and their child by these two charming, polite and thoroughly evil strangers. While you might think you’ve seen a hundred of these types of films already Funny Games does enough to stand out from the rest.

Funny Games US

Although the original was made over 10 years ago its message is just as relevant today. Maybe even more so as Haneke’s movie is commentary on our current obsession with violence in the media and our voyeuristic attitude to on-screen sadism. Cleverly the director manages to keep most of the violence off-camera using the threat of violence to induce the fear in the viewer.

The audience isn’t allowed to develop a connection with the annoyingly smug bourgeois family. Instead we are placed on the side of the 2 protagonists, Peter and Paul, who are playing a giant sick prank for no other reason than it’s fun to torture people. Throughout the film Paul makes unusual statements like ‘You can stop anytime you want’ and ‘You’ve brought this upon yourself’. He’s not just referring to the the victims but to the audience themselves, reminding them that they chose to watch this film but they can switch off any time they want.

The camera work is fairly intense as well. There are some lengthy scenes which use only 1 camera shot to drag out the terror for longer portions. It’s an unusual film with some quite unique moments. I don’t really want to give away some of the tricks of this film but it does step outside the boundaries of reality at times that makes you wonder just who Peter and Paul really are.

As a word for word, shot for shot remake of a film it’s up to you whether to watch this or the original. It is just another home invasion film but the movie’s 2 anti-heroes are both interesting and strange enough to warrant 2 hours of your time. 7/10.

by Ghastly McNasty

Theatre of Terror

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