Written & Directed By: Michael Heneke
Cinematography By: Darius Khondji
Editor: Monika Willi
Production Design: Kevin Thompson
Art Direction: Hinju Kim
Cast: Tim Roth, Naomi Watts, Michael Pitt, Brady Corbet, Devon Gearheart, Siobhan Fallon, Boyd Gaines
In this English-language remake of a deconstruction in the way violence is portrayed in the media, a family settles into its vacation home, which happens to be the next stop for a pair of young, articulate, white-gloved serial killers on an excursion through the neighborhood.
Not as good as the original of course I think the real weakness of the film is not only going back and repeating something that was never wrong, to begin with just to expose it to a massive audience that might have not seen the film the first time just because it was in a foreign language.
The remake doesn’t show growth but hey rockstars have to play their classic hits once in a while, Even with new band members. If they are willing to pay you to do it why not.
I think one other weakness this film has is that it is opened up more than the original, with more characters. Who are minor but it opens it up. which in the beginning was scarier and more intense because it was more intimate.
It’s not a shot-for-shot remake but is similar enough. Maybe the film doesn’t affect you because we already saw the original and know what’s going to happen. Whereas when you see the original it’s a shock and keeps you on the edge of your seat. Watching this is like watching an imitation even though it is by the same director. Maybe it is also because whereas there were no stars in the original. So anything could happen and It felt realistic. Seeing stars in this you know it’s just fake and doesn’t penetrate any of my emotions like it seems to be directed to. By bringing well-known actors into the film also gives them nothing to do but whimper in pain for two hours there are no great characters to play or great lines unless you have the villain’s role in this film.
you also notice that in the original the female star was in her underwear for a scene then gets clothed. Here Naomi Watts spends most of the movie in her underwear. Sure it’s great to look at but I guess it was meant to tap into American horror films as usually the females run around naked and in their underwear as they are stalked and killed rarely do they survive. In fact, there is no real violence shown only the aftermath. The only time there is violence it happens to one of the villains.
The main villain also doesn’t speak to the audience as much as he did in the original, maybe it was deemed annoying. The remote scene which seemed daring in the original seems like a gimmick here. Here in making it bigger, it is marketed as a thriller but shot like an art film with attention to detail and colors but with no real shown violence that the audience is waiting for.
It also plays with the conventions of films such as foreshadowing and making an excuse for the violent behavior, breaking the fourth wall, and the illusion that in the end, everything will turn out fine. The false hope that it can all turn around because that’s what happens in the film. They wouldn’t be that messed up.
It plays with the rules that you have come to expect and then just when you think it will follow narratives you have seen it switches it upon you.
The pacing also seems off that it makes the film almost seem boring. Some could look at it as satire. It is obviously a message movie because all that happens in the film makes you realize your own bloodlust and includes you as a co-conspirator in all that happens because you are sitting there watching for entertainment.
Like the scene where Anna is then taken to the boat where she attempts to cut herself loose with the knife shown earlier in the film, only to have it taken from her as a way to mock the standard Hollywood foreshadowing. She is then dumped overboard and drowns as the two boys discuss school fiction and state the message of the film quite clearly by stating (in reference to a novel they read) “the family was real, the hero was in fiction”, demonstrating that violence is real and what occurs for entertainment happens in reality, however rising above the odds and becoming a hero only happens in fiction. And as a note, all of the killing is off-screen, this is a pro-reality but anti-violence film in its own brutal right
Now I didn’t exactly write the last paragraph but it is summed up pretty well that I agree with it I say if you didn’t see the original this might be interesting but if you did you don’t really have to bother with this film. Trust me rent the original it’s a lot better.