Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Film Review: Funny Games (2007)

Funny Games (Review)
United States/2007
Format Viewed For Review: HBO Now
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"...an incredibly suspenseful, darkly humorous, and surprising horror film."

A pair of psychopaths take a family hostage in their own cabin for their sick amusement...

Funny Games, the remake of a masterful Austrian thriller, follows the Farber family: Anna (Naomi Watts), the mother, George (Tim Roth), the father, and Georgie (Devon Gearhart), the son. The Farbers head to their lake house for a break. All is well until two young and peculiar men, Paul (Michael Pitt) and Peter (Brady Corbet), show up at their home to help put their boat in the lake and ask for eggs. One thing leads to another, and the Farbers end up being held hostage by their uninvited guests. They make a bet to see if the Farbers can survive until 9:00 AM – about 12 hours – while they play a set of sadistic games. The film stalls towards the second half – perhaps on purpose – so it has a few pacing issues. However, most of the film stays on its feet until its strong ending.

Funny Games is a compelling psychological horror film. It is more than the usual home invasion film. There aren't any 'creepy' animals masks or any other terrible home invasion cliches in this movie. In fact, if there are any cliches in this film, they're there on purpose. You see, this is a movie with several layers. On the surface, it is a tense and violent home invasion film; beyond the surface, it is a reflection of violent media and film cliches. Of course, you don't have to look beyond the surface to enjoy this film, but it does make it more effective. Disregarding its intriguing themes, you still have an incredibly suspenseful, darkly humorous, and surprising horror film. Aside from some pacing issues towards the end, everything really comes together for this film.

The cast was also great. Naomi Watts is a wonderful leading lady, conveying the perfect amount of emotion throughout the film. Tim Roth and Devon Gearhart also perform well. Michael Pitt and Brad Corbet have excellent chemistry as the enigmatic antagonists. The film was beautifully shot. It is also practically devoid of music, which is impressive. The film was written and directed by Michael Haneke. Haneke crafts a suspenseful thriller without compromising. He copies his original film without flaw, too. I've read his interviews, so I know his intentions, but I disagree. In any way I look at it, this is not a pointless film. It has a finer point than most movies nowadays.

Overall, Funny Games is a great movie. It is a very suspenseful, darkly humorous, and compelling movie. It is a movie that can entertain while making you think. It's a film that will stay on your mind long after you've finished it. Is it perfect? No, it's not. Should you watch it? If you like dark movies, you don't want to miss this one. If you've already seen the original and don't have time to waste, I don't think you have to watch it.

Score: 8/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and blood.

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