Funny Games is an American shot-for-shot remake of the 1997 Austrian horror film of the same name. What makes this re-make a little different from the slew of abhorrent Hollywood hack jobs is that the original director, Michael Haneke also helmed the re-make.
The premise is simple, well to do couple; George and Anna, along with their son Georgie and Lucky their dog arrive at their lake house holiday home. They’ve brought the boat and plenty of supplies so one can assume that they are staying for a while. However, before they can even unpack, Peter and Paul, two seemingly innocent young men turn up asking to borrow some eggs.
Of course, the eggs are just the beginning of their game, a game where they take the family hostage and propose a bet; they bet that the family will be dead by 9.00am, and the family has to bet that they will survive.
Simple enough, but the young men always have the upper hand and seem to have thought of everything.
Michael Haneke manages to coax a heart pounding performance out of Naomi Watts in her role as Anna and he keeps the audience on a knife-edge for the entire movie. It’s a taught ride that weaves its merry way through its 108-minute runtime with little in the way of breaks to allow you to catch your breath.
Ridiculed by some critics as nothing more than an Eli Roth Hostel knock off, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Sure, Funny Games is an exercise in sadistic violence, but unlike Roth’s attempt at shock cinema, Funny Games manages to keep the gore to a minimum, relying on a tightly written plot with some quirky twists to keep the viewer entranced.
Put simply, Funny Games gains instant entry into my all time top 5 horror/thrillers, along with the likes of The Descent and [REC].
Reviewed by: Jonathan Read.
Rating: R18 – Violence and content that may disturb.
Released on: February 12th, 2009
Year of Original Release: 2007
Length (Minutes): 108
Media Format: DVD