It was Halloween weekend and we’ve been trying to find really good horror flicks to watch over the whole month. Really scary movies are tough to find when you’ve seen most of them and aren’t interested in the typical/cheesy American idea of a horror movie. See: Foreign Horror Movies
What I did was look for blogs listing the best foreign horror movies and go from there. The movie Funny Games was listed a few times so I thought we’d give it a try.
The Basics: Two young men take a family hostage in their own home to play a few “games.” It must be noted that there are 2 versions of this movie, we happened to watch the German (subtitled) 1997 version but the 2007 American version was written and directed by the same guy shot for shot. I just happen to like the pictures they have for the more recent film better. We only really saw the original film because it was available to watch instantly on Netflix while the newer version wasn’t.
The Good: It’s beautifully played out and never quite what you’d expect. Almost all of the violence is done off camera, which is by far a lot creepier than actually seeing it. The main bad guy breaks down the fourth wall several times (ie. looks to us the audience) and brings us in, which is the last thing you want. We even said at one point “don’t look at us, we don’t want anything to do with this.
Oh and something really interesting I read in the trivia part of this movie on imdb.com: When the film was screened at Cannes in 1997 it shocked the audience badly enough that many viewers, including some film critics, walked out of the screening.
The Bad: Well it was a foreign film so there were subtitles, which I can deal with but one always prefers to concentrate on what is actually going on. A couple times they used some German hardcore rock that really disturbed me, I can’t exactly say why but then I guess that was the point. Paul’s (the bad dude) legs were really skinny too, that distracted me a bit.
Of course I read up on this afterward, which I always do with movies that fascinate me one way or another. I read that a lot of Americans didn’t like this movie because of the reasons I, in fact, loved it. They didn’t like how the fourth wall was broken down and brought the audience into the story. They didn’t like how you could not see the violence. It’s like we have this need to our horror movies to have this specific formula because it makes us feel safe while it scares us. Well, to me, there is nothing scary about feeling safe.
Also, it’s a little annoying how we keep remaking movies shot-for-shot, what’s the point? I get that having a version in English means people who won’t watch subtitles will actually see it but it’s just so bizarre.
Still it’s one of those movies that gets to you and you may never really forget it.