STRAW DOGS caused a big stir when it was originally released back in 1971 where it was set in England. The Dustin Hoffman starrer was about a couple that move into the English country side and are subjected to increasingly hostile local harassment until it culminates into an explosively violent 3rd act.
Flash forward 4o years and to a completely bereft of ideas Hollywood and STRAW DOGS has been ‘re-imagined’ by writer director Rod Lurie. Reset in the deep South U.S. and with James Marsden and Kate Bosworth assuming the lead roles. Their agitators are lead by True Blood star Alexander Skarsgard who must have it in his contract to get all his gear off in everything and ensure there’s a bum exposing sex scene involved.
The film essentially turns into a home invasion story but its so blandly done that the first hour of it is relentlessly banal. Performances are all flat and Lurie really can’t get any dimension out of any of these characters – whom nearly all of them are totally unlikeable.
The ludicrous final act is graphically violent (to the standards that de-sensitized U.S. audiences would expect – there’s no subtlety here) but it comes and goes so fast that by the time you get there you’re so bored of these people you want most of the dead anyway.
STRAW DOGS was a real missed opportunity in my book – in better, more intelligent hands, this could have been a really incisive character study on what pushes people over the edge instead of I’m-just-gonna-slam-your-head-with-a-bear-trap hook.
STRAW DOGS releases direct to BLU RAY, DVD and DOWNLOAD on MAY 10, 2012