I recently watched “The Strangers” in theaters, and it was a thriller very heavily reminiscent of “Funny Games” in where our villains simply are. And the studios heavily marketed on the momentum from Haneke’s film to make it seem like a branch off from “Funny Games.” That’s likely because with both films our villains remain ambiguous. I never understood why we have to know the motives of our villains in horror films, these days. Why do we need to know about their life, or tragedy, and why do they need to have a theme of revenge or financial gain? Why can’t they just be psychopathic murderers who simply crossed you and seek to kill you?
I think that’s why I enjoyed “The Strangers” and that’s why I loved “Funny Games US.” We never find out why these two blond cherubic teens are terrorizing and torturing this hapless family. They just are. They’re there, and they’re anxious to make this trio suffer for just living and being so comfortable in their buttoned down white wall life. And that’s all I really needed to sit back and absolutely love everything Haneke threw at movie audiences. I think it’s mainly due to the great performances from respective strong actors like Michael Pitt, Tim Roth, and Naomi Watts, just to name a few.
As it stands the film is still quite despicable and an excruciating practice in testing its audience as well as the limits of storytelling and continues to be a quite incredible anti-horror film that refuses to play with normal story conventions. Haneke has angered many a movie-goer who invested time in “Funny Games US,” and for that I think his remake will live on for years as a benchmark in controversial filmmaking. It’ll likely take a slot in my top ten of 2008, and watching it again only confirms how much I loathe and yet love Haneke’s disturbing tale of two boys who show up at a house one day to inflict torture on a couple and their son. It’s quite brilliant, and I highly insist people watch it and experience something new.
As for the DVD, I’m disappointed. I mean, if you’re going to release the movie why do it on a Dual Layer Disc where there’s no real eye catching detail on either side. This is a flimsy treatment with the widescreen format on one side, and the full screen format on the other side, and no matter how hard you try, fingerprints are inevitable. And you want to know what else stinks? There aren’t even any extras accounted for.
There are no trailers, no image gallery, no studio intro, just a jump to the menu with the languages, scene selection and Play Movie options. With this shabby treatment I smell an upcoming Special Edition with Haneke’s original included… or maybe this is all apart of those Funny Games Haneke boasts about in his movie. That sick bastard. So what do you get for loving this movie? Scorn from people who despised it, eventual name calling, and to boot, a DVD treatment that just outright sucks from head to toe. There’s nothing in this DVD beyond the great picture and excellent film, for fans of Haneke’s remake.