If one had to walk into a DVD Nouveau and ask to be disturbed, the friendly man behind the desk would insist you rent Funny Games. This has happened to me personally and yes the DVD Nouveau man was right; Funny Games is truly a unique thrilling experience that is quite impossible to articulate simply. Funny Games is more than a psychological thriller. Funny Games delivers a groundbreaking unsettling experience of which you will be completely uncomfortable throughout. Mark Kemode of the Observer wrote that “rarely has a film-maker exercised such perverse precision in his desire to torment an audience for whom he clearly harbours unbridled contempt.” This is the vision of director, Michael Haneke. He crafted a film that was not intended to be a mere horror, but rather a rebuke of violence in American cinema. The film never shows explicit gore of any kind, but rather cleverly evokes terror with suggestion. Michael Haneke crafted this movie with contempt towards the audience and intended for people to walk out of cinemas. What results is something that deeply disturbs me to this day. This movie, unless understood, will be perceived as a pointless two hours of filmed anguish. However, Funny Games delivers an unforgettable film experience like no other.
Beneath the smirk lurks a monster
Funny Games is a shot-for-shot remake of Michael Haneke’s predecessor and takes place in the U.S. with different actors. Funny Games follows a family that is held captive, terrorized and tortured in the Hamptons by two young boys (Michael Pitt and Brady Corbett). The violence occurs off-screen and the audience is only exposed to the reactions and screams of the abused couple and child. The parents are played by Naomi Watts and Tim Roth and deliver immaculate performances.
Funny Games attempts to torment the audience by breaking usual horror movie rules. Additionally, the antagonists have the ability to address the audience directly and can rewind time at will. Furthermore, the film’s aesthetic is pristine which inherently feels very anti-horror. What results is a film that blindsides its audience with a strange punch of torment. Michael Haneke crafts a film that ensures that the audience leaves agonized, frustrated and discontent. And he sure succeeds. Watching this film was a lot like being a part of the tortured family. Funny Games lashes out at society’s attraction to gore and violence. This bizarre film, consequently, led to incredibly mixed reviews.
The game begins
Papa and son are also part of the fun
Naomi has had enough fun
Funny Games is truly a stroke of genius. However, it is definitely not appropriate for a cozy movie night or anything like that. It is not for the faint-hearted. Funny Games will leave you disturbed, frustrated and confused but despite this it is recommendable.
Are you bored of typical horror films where girls in underwear are hacked to death by men in masks? Are you tired of clichéd plot lines? Are you an open-minded individual willing to embrace a new kind of film experience? Are you brave enough to endure Michael Haneke’s attack on contemporary society? If you answer yes to all the above questions, then Funny Games may just be for you.
If you are brave enough to embark on the Funny Games ride, firstly Popcornography commends you and secondly make sure you get the 2007 U.S. remade version. This one has Naomi Watts. Everyone loves Naomi. And it is set in the Hamptoms. The Hamptoms is fabulous.
For more on Funny Games, check out the trailer (if you dare). HIGHLY recommended!