What one should immediately think about when watching this film is that this film was remade, shot by shot from an older film created by the same director, Michael Haneke, and was set loose against the US audiences. It's a deep, psychological horror film which sees a family on holiday tortured and killed, one by one and by no discernible reason by two frightfully evil, young teenage boys (Fig 1). The homicidal, golf-playing teenagers are played by Brady Corbet and Michael Pitt and with a frightening authenticity to boot. The victims are played by Tim Roth and Naomi Watts who put on equally convincing performance.
"Pitt and Corbet's psychopaths are as unfathomable a couple of evil-doers as we've seen since Hitchcock paired John Dall and Farley Granger in Rope - and what could be more frightening than that? Haneke shares much in common with Hitchcock, notably his awesome cinematic precision. But here he goes further than even Hitch dared, by questioning the very basis of horror's entertainment value, not least by inviting us to consider our complicity in consuming the images that haunt our worst nightmares." (TimeOut, 2008)
Fig 2Haneke is an expert at building suspense with long, drawn-out scenes that hold on a central point of figure for at least a few minutes up to ten. Haneke chose not to rely on a distinct soundtrack, besides the furious crashing of Thrash Metal, for audiences to link a scene with a mood. Instead, the only thing to rely on is the dialogue. All you will hear is the audiences uncomfortable squirming and worried coughing.
Every little bit of violence during the teen's bloodthirsty visit happens off-screen and all of this violence is in ample dishes. Haneke uses this to his advantage and the threat of bloodthirsty violence is always there, especially when the teens leave the victims in their home, bound up, sweaty, sobbing and shattered emotionally. Haneke almost seems to love torturing the viewer very similar to how the teens torture the family. He also celebrates movie violence in a way.
"It is clear that Haneke (who made Hidden) aims to torture us, as much as his characters. That's why his antagonists, two psychopathic young men in white summer clothing and white gloves, keep winking and smirking at the camera, as if to ask: "Are you enjoying this? Are you getting off on this violence?"" (Paul Byrnes, 2008)
Audiences pay big money in order to go and see horror movies, knowing hat they're looking forward to the bloodshed which will inevitably occur. Haneke gives the audiences what they want in this film, but only displays the aftermath of the violence and not the bloodshed.
Funny Games isn't like most other horror films where the victims of the killer eventually rise up against their fears and bring said killer to justice. No, in Funny Games, the killer teens succeed in their attempts to kill off the victims one by one until no member of the family is left alive. Funny Games transcends these used-up tropes to further shock the audience. The child is killed off first with a shotgun to the head, then the father and finally the mother who is drowned in the most nonchalant way possible; one of the teens casually pushes her off the edge of the boat and that is the last the viewer ever sees of her.
A few downsides this film has is that he leaves everything unchanged from the original; every camera angle, every shot and every piece of dialogue is the exact same as the original and, to Haneke's fans, this may be a disappointment. However, what he wanted to do originally was express his creation to the US audience and be in the center of the action where all the big films are.
The film is most definitely one that is much too blunt for fans of the art house and fans of the original may feel disappointed by his remake expecting something new. However, viewers who are arriving to this movie fresh should certainly expect something more psychologically developed than just another slasher flick. It's a refined psychological thriller whose clinical realization and unpredictability make it a very unique film.
Byrnes, Paul (2008) http://www.smh.com.au/news/film-reviews/funny-games/2008/09/03/1220121320105.html (Accessed 11/11/2012)
<No Author> (2008) http://www.au.timeout.com/sydney/film/features/3293/funny-games (Accessed 11/11/2012)
Fig 1: twistedbeauti (2009) http://twistedbeauti.webs.com/apps/photos/photo?photoid=27658859 (Accessed 11/11/2012)
Fig 2: Miles Fielder (2008) http://film.list.co.uk/article/7280-funny-games-us/ (Accessed 11/11/2012)
Fig 3: <No Author> (2007) http://glennkenny.premiere.com/blog/2007/10/london-film-fes.html (Accessed 11/11/2012)
Fig 4: <No Author> (No Date) http://www.deep-focus.com/dfweblog/2008/03/funny_games_2008.html (Accessed 11/11/2012)