directed by Michael Haneke
Michael Haneke has done this before. No, seriously, he has. Funny Games is a scarily close remake of his earlier work of the same name (some have even claimed that it a shot by shot remake. Almost, but not quite), and Haneke’s genius has never been more apparent than in these twin horrors. I’m all for appreciating the original (in the case of a remake situation), but when the author of both films is the same person, and his remake is crazy similar, I would encourage you to see both, but to not be ashamed of preferring the newer over its elder sibling. In light of that statement, let me make it known that I love the 2007 remake just slightly more that its OG counterpart, and so I will be reviewing the Naomi Watts, Tim Roth, Michael Pitt and Brady Corbet gem. Even at the very beginning, Haneke seeks to disorient the audience with a fantastically jarring opening title sequence (that music!) in which a seemingly well to do family heads to their weekend getaway. Things take a turn for the horrific when two young men turn up at the lake house and pose a friendly challenge to the fam: try to survive the night. Yes, yes, I understand Haneke’s critique of society’s bloodlust slash desensitization via the depiction of violence in the media. Yes, I get it that Haneke’s vision grew to become not only more prophetic with the passage of time, but more pertinent (especially as his remake seems to comment directly on such trash as the torture porn horror of the Saw and Hostel films). These things are entirely valid and do contribute to the artistic value of Haneke’s work, but where Funny Games truly leaves its counterparts behind is in Haneke’s ability to horrify through insinuation, to overwhelmingly disturb in a universal, cosmic sense with hints, innuendo and dark, dark humor. Funny Games will knock the hell out of you, it will cause you to wring your hands into oblivion, and with hardly any traditional onscreen violence. Every actor in the film delivers some of their best work, the cinematography is brilliant, and directing will leave you breathless.
Note: Funny Games is one of those films that my little brother wrote off as Eurotrash exploitation (he never saw the original, and would hear none of my pleadings), but when I duped him into actually watching the remake, I managed to convert him. If you ever run into him, just ask, “Hey DC, what did you think of Funny Games?”