I recently dragged myself to the theatre to check out the latest Hollywood remake Straw Dogs. I am never a fan of remakes but I am not one of these keyboard tough guys who rant’s on about how all remakes are terrible and simply should never exist. I agree that alot of remakes are horrible cheap cash in’s on the nostalgia of the past but some are quite good. The Thing remake by John Carpenter, Rob Zombies Halloween Remake and Zach Snyders Dawn of the Dead Remake are all great films. So that all set aside I did not go into Straw Dogs with a chip on my shoulder although unfortunately I did leave with one on it.
Straw Dogs is a prime example of a movie that served absolutely no purpose although to be frank it has very little to do with the fact Straw Dogs is a remake and more to do with the fact it is just not very good. Movies are supposed to be creative and imaginative and thrillers are supposed to thrill us and Straw Dogs does none of these. Although I have never seen the original 1971 film which starred Dustin Hoffman and Susan George I think it is probably a safe bet that it was much better.
Kate Bosworth and James Mardsen star as a couple who head to the backwoods so hubby can work on his writing and in doing so they meet up with some old friends of Kate’s characters who for some odd reason go from old friends to serial predators.
The formula behind Straw Dogs has played out a hundred times before it and in almost every case a hundred times better. Kate Bosworth and James Marsden shine with their complex on screen chemistry and the film boasts an outstanding cast of supporting actors including Alexander Skarsgård as a disturbed ex boyfriend, James Woods as the aged football coach with drunken demons and a truly stand out and against type performance by Dominic Purcell as the village idiot.
Unfortunately a great job at casting and a reasonable job done in editing cannot compensate for the fact that horror fans will complain that the movie is far too tame and not even remotely scary while fans of thrillers will question where the thrillers are.
At best Straw Dogs is a human drama piece that features a sadistic scene of rape ( most of which is not shown ) and a final 10 minutes of brutal violence. At worst people like me will sum it up as a well crafted character performance by talented actors that is boring as sin.
Straw Dogs despite its great cast and strong performances is slow, plodding and boring and considering its not in Oscar contention and is supposed to be thrilling its a big goose egg for me. I would not recommend this movie either wait for it on Netlflix or for that matter watch a good revenge-thriller like Last House on the Left or even James Wan’s newer one Death Sentence. I give Straw Dogs a 4 out of 10