Funny Games

2008 / d. Michael Haneke
A brilliantly twisted piece of work from director Michael Haneke (Cache, The White Ribbon), Funny Games is a shot-for-shot remake of his original 1997 film of the same name. Naomi Watts, Tim Roth and Devon Gearhart play a family heading up to their lake house for a vacation. Soon after arriving, two young men (Michael Pitt, Brady Corbet) arrive at their doorstep, asking to borrow some eggs. What unfolds over the next two hours is a series of horrifying psychological “funny games” played by the family at the mercy of these two men. Haneke is a master of the shock horror, without resorting to blood and gore. The thought of a home invasion scares many families into buying home alarm systems, but the extent these two men go to, for no explained reason, is one of the single most terrifying aspects of the film, one that sticks with you long after the credits have rolled. Even more warped is the constant breaking of the fourth wall by the two men, addressing the audience and even rewinding the film when things don’t go their way. This might break the illusion for some, but for others (especially fans of Haneke) it will only serve to further the depravity of the film. Purists might want to watch the Austrian original, but with the 2008 American version, Haneke has only changed the location and the actors; it’s still a shot-for-shot remake of his own film and the horror aspect of home invasion is still kept well-intact. Do yourself a favour and set some time aside to play Funny Games.

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