German director Michael Haneke remade his popular German film “Funny Games” into an American version. I don’t believe this thriller was meant to entertain the viewer but made to provoke thought about our violent society, so if you like artsy films this one’s for you.
A family goes on vacation to their summer home on a lake surrounded by an upper class gated community. As Ann (Naomi Watts), George (Tim Roth), and their young son Georgie drive through the wealthy community they notice their neighbors with a couple of young strangers dressed in white. They think nothing of it and they go off to settle into their summer home. While Ann’s in the kitchen getting dinner ready for her family, a familiar guest arrives. It’s one of the young men dressed in white that she saw earlier with her neighbors. The young man asks her for some eggs and she complies and sends him off with the eggs but a few moments later he comes back asking for more because he claims he dropped them, but not after he “accidently” drops her cell phone in the sink that was filled with water; which of course makes the cell phone inactive because we can’t have a working cell phone in a scary movie. She annoyingly gives him some more eggs and he again drops them but this time he is accompanied by the other young man also dressed in white. It becomes apparent to Ann that something isn’t right with these boy’s, even though they continue speaking politely, Ann gets a bad vibe and kicks them out, but they refuse to leave. Ann’s husband eventually get’s involve and agrees with his wife to kick them out, but one of the boys gives him a quick swift golf club swing on George’s knee. This, apparently completely impales him because throughout the rest of the movie he can’t defend his family from the evil boys dressed in white who play sick torturing games. There was no room for character development in this film, therefore we learn almost nothing about the two evil boys; which is either interesting or frustrating depending on the viewer. I must say though Heneke did a good job with the two evil boys because they were annoying me to the point that I wanted someone to punch them in the head or crotch.
There are points in the movie where the boys turn to the camera to address the audience as a sort of challenge, and I thought that it took away from the film and in a way detached me from it; but not to the point where I didn’t feel like continuing with the movie. It wasn’t until the director takes us to a crucial point of the film and then (without giving too much away) gives us two scenarios, and that really ended it for me. I didn’t even want to continue watching, but of course I had to finish with hope of some kind of recovery… which I don’t think it fully did.
I understood what the director was trying to do, especially after reading thoughts of other viewers online, but It didn’t meet my expectations or maybe it was too artsy for me. Don’t expect “Hostel” or “Saw” type of violence or torture; it’s watered down.
The scenes where beautifully shot, and I loved how he made non-scary scenarios seem scary. The man has talent and I would definitely watch it again just because of how visually good looking it was.