Thursday, April 25, 2013

Funny Games (1997)


Synopsis taken from IMDb
Two psychotic young men take a mother, father and son hostage in their vacation cabin and force them to play sadistic "games" with one another for their own amusement.

Recently, all that I have on my Netflix instant queue is foreign horror films. I've watched just about every other English horror film I've added. So now I'm chomping away at watching 30+ foreign movies, little by little and day by day. This is one of the ones I've had on there for a while and have never gotten around to viewing it, until the other day when I finally decided that "Funny Games" should surface to the top. It seemed the most appealing. What I do is I pick 3 movies on my queue and then view the trailers for all three on youtube, whichever looks the most appealing is the one I go with.

One of the reasons that I chose "Funny Games" is because it's content is extremely close to "The Strangers" and Ethan Hawke's new film "The Purge". If you haven't seen the trailer for "The Purge" you may do so now and thank me later. It looks as though it's going to be a very creepy movie and with Ethan Hawke as the lead it should be promising. Ethan Hawke is a very strong actor and is utterly convincing in some of his roles. Like "The Purge" and "The Strangers", "Funny Games" is a home invasion movie.

What's so scary about home invasion movies? It's the shock of not being in control in your own house. The not so good feeling of being helpless and ultimately it's the invasion of privacy. Your home is your domain, it's your castle, so to speak. When someone trifles that, it strikes home and hits you where it hurts. Here you are paying rent, working a job (possibly even multiple) and some stranger comes along and makes it all go to hell. 

Permanently scaring you and causing you paranoia whenever you're alone. Scarring you for good. Ruining your vision of your comfort zone and constantly reminding you that no matter where you are, you're never safe. To feel that helpless in your own home, a place that you've put all your earnings into, is unsettling. I can't even imagine the mental state some families are in when they go through this. To be a victim in the one place that you feel safe and feel you can hide is not only chilling but terrifying.

"Funny Games" starts with Georg, his wife Anna and their son Georgie arriving at their Austrian lake house with their dog, Rolfi. They seem like an average happy couple and people we all can relate to, and thus making the characters known to us so we can sympathize with them during the events of this movie. The film surprisingly doesn't take long to pick up the pace and start rolling the ball.

Two young men by the names of Peter and Paul arrive at the house, saying they're with one of the neighbors and need to borrow 4 eggs. They're liars, of course, and are only using the egg situation as a means to disable Anna's phone and to scope the house. When Anna picks up something's strange with the boys she asks her husband to make them leave, only to make the situation worse. 

Peter and Paul take the family into the living room after crippling Georg with a golf club. From here they start mocking the family and start to play games with them. What I found truly disturbing is that Peter and Paul have no remorse. They're heartless bastards who need a good old ass whooping from their daddy. They're actually amused at taking this family and terrorizing them. It's all fun and games to them, no pun intended.

There are several parts where Paul looks at the screen and addresses the audience and thus reminding us, the viewer, that this is only a movie despite how screwed up it is. I believe they did this because the movie's so horrific and tragic with how the victim's are terrorized. But despite being unrated, the film hardly has any violence in it. Most of all the brutality happens off screen but we get the idea of what happened. This shows you that you can create enough tension and terror that you don't need to show gore or overly violent deaths or tortures.

The whole movie you're just waiting for Anna to make her move and take atleast one of the young men out. They toy with her son by sacking his face (cover picture) and threaten to hurt him unless Anna undresses and shows them her body. Peter and Paul also do some major damage to Georg, and I couldn't help but get upset at how smug these guys are. They really played their parts well. Unfortunately, Anna doesn't get to get redemption. None of them do. 

And Anna watches her family murdered in front of her eyes before she herself is tied up and thrown into the lake, meeting her demise. What really unnerved me was that not only do Peter and Paul get away with this atrocious crime, but they continue the cycle as the movie ends with them going to Anna's neighbors house and asking to "borrow some eggs".

"Funny Games" was definite a good watch and it gets my seal of approval. It's the realism of it that unsettles you. However, I couldn't help but think that if I was Georg or Anna I would have done more to stop the evil scum terrorizing their family. I understand Georg's leg was messed up but unless my legs were chopped off I would have still severely hurt Peter and Paul and it wouldn't have been pretty. I'm afraid it's Anna and Georg's lack of action that results in their death and their son's death.


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