Arts Blog: Funny Games (2008)- ‘Whether by Knife or Whether by Gun, Losing your Life can Sometimes be Fun’

November 8, 2010 by · 1 Comment 

Posted By Danielle Barrios

After the original looked for some much needed American attention, here is a remake full of horrific fun. Thanks to one of the most horror-film savvy people I know, Missy Boyle, this blog features a film she recommended: the remake of the 1997 German version, Funny Games, both directed by Michael Haneke (they even have similar trailers).

Even though it is difficult for me to admit the relevance or timeliness of this film since it was made over two years ago (and the original practically 10 years), this film is in need of some much needed recognition for its emerging post-modern audience especially among the never-ending list of bland blockbusters (Paranormal Activity or Saw 16, anyone?).

Unlike most remakes, this one does very little (if any) to nuance the original. With the same director, this shot-for-shot remake chronicles a family of three: husband George (Tim Roth), wife Anna (Naomi Watts), and their son Georgie (Devon Gearhart). While peacefully enjoying their bourgeois lake house, two strangers, eventually named Peter and Paul (Brady Corbet and Michael Pitt), knock at their door asking for eggs, not once but twice, dressed in all-white golf-gear, Peter and Paul (Brady Corbet and Michael Pitt). Unexpectedly, Peter breaks George’s leg with a golf club and the two friendly guests hold the whole family hostage.

Without giving too much of the juicy and quietly horrific details away, the family is sadistically tortured and forced to play Peter and Paul’s “game” (cue movie title reference). Peter and Paul are the ringleaders. They bet the family they won’t survive past 9 a.m. the next morning and the games begin.

“This movie pushes the limit and goes past what North American audiences are used to from horror films,” says blogger, Rodney, who also cleverly points out how this remake is precisely what subtitle-phobic American audiences are in search for.

Rodney criticizes the film for being “slow” at times but also points out something quite interesting: the slow scenes of the family mourning in agony are the most horrific. And honestly, I could not agree more. What is more familiar than torture within a situation that is horrifyingly possible?

If you’re even the slightest bit curious, then do yourself a favor and see this film. But even if you are wondering why it’s post-modern or how the two assailants break the “fourth wall” I guess you will just have to find out for yourself.