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Straw Dogs (2011)

R  |   |  Horror, Thriller  |  16 September 2011 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.8/10 from 25,913 users   Metascore: 45/100
Reviews: 138 user | 183 critic | 29 from Metacritic.com

L.A. screenwriter David Sumner relocates with his wife to her hometown in the deep South. There, while tensions build between them, a brewing conflict with locals becomes a threat to them both.



(screenplay), (earlier screenplay), 2 more credits »
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2 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
John Burke
Daniel Niles
Coach Milkens
Megan Adelle ...
Jessica Dockrey ...
Helen (as Jessica Cook)


Screenwriter David Sumner travels with his wife Amy in his Jaguar to her homeland Blackwater, in the Mississippi. Amy's father has passed away and David intends to write his screenplay about Stalingrad in the house. David hires the contractor Charlie and his team to repair the roof of the Barn. Amy was the sweetheart of Charlie when she lived there and neither him nor his crew show respect to her. Charlie invites David to hunt deers with his group and him but they leave David alone in the woods and rape Amy. She does not tell to David what happened but when the drunken coach Tom Heddon calls Charlie and his friends to hunt down the slow Jeremy Niles that likes his daughter, David decides to protect not only Jeremy, but also Amy and his honor. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Don't let them in. See more »


Horror | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong brutal violence including a sexual attack, menace, some sexual content, and pervasive language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



Release Date:

16 September 2011 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Perros de paja  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$25,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$5,123,760 (USA) (16 September 2011)


$10,324,441 (USA) (7 October 2011)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The film, a remake of the controversially violent 1971 movie, is considered fairly faithful to Sam Peckinpah's original, though the location has been moved from Cornwall, England to the U.S. Mississippi Gulf Coast, and the hero's profession has been changed from mathematician to screenwriter. See more »


When Amy gets back from jogging, the amount of and position of the sweat on her top changes numerous times from scene to scene. See more »


David Sumner: [to Amy] Get your daddy's gun and shoot anyone that's not me.
See more »


Remake of Straw Dogs (1971) See more »


Release Me and Let Me Love Again
Written by Eddie Miller, Dub Williams, and Robert Yount
Performed by Clifton Chenier
See more »

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User Reviews

What are You Capable of?
18 September 2011 | by (Dallas, Texas) – See all my reviews

Greetings again from the darkness. If you have seen Sam Peckinpah's classic 1971 original with Dustin Hoffman and Susan George, it is impossible to watch this remake without comparing the two films. Because of that, these comments will include some comparative notes. After all, it's been 40 years and most people watching this new version have never seen the original.

Director Rod Lurie follows the Peckinpah version pretty closely with the obvious changes being a move from the English countryside to the deep south (Mississippi), and the main characters are now a screenwriter and actress instead of mathematical whiz and ... well, whatever Susan George's character was in the original. Those are the obvious changes, but not the most significant. I really missed the subtlety and psychological trickery delivered by Peckinpah, especially in the relationship between David and Amy.

Lurie chooses to take advantage of the physical screen presence of Alexander Skarsgard (True Blood) as Charlie, the local stud and Amy's ex. Charlie's past exploits on the football field and his creepy leadership skills with his posse of thugs, provide the yin of physical strength to the yang of David's intelligence. It's interesting to note that this version spells out Sun-Tzu's description of "straw dogs" while Peckinpah left his audience to fend for themselves. But, of course, what this boils down to is just how far can a civilized person be pushed ... and how far is the bully willing to go?

James Woods is a welcome and terrifying addition to the new version. Since it is based in the small town south, high school football must play a role. Woods is the former high school coach who is now a violent drunk, and still leader of his former players. He is a sadistic type who picks on Jeremy Niles (Dominic Purcell), the slow-witted brother of Daniel (Walton Goggins) and constantly accuses him of inappropriate behavior with his 15 year old cheerleader daughter.

James Marsden (Hairspray) and Kate Bosworth (Remember the Titans) play David and Amy. They come back to Amy's childhood home so she can rest and David can have some peace and quiet while writing his screenplay on the Battle of Stalingrad. Well, we couldn't really have him writing a rom-com, could we? From Day One, the peace and quiet is clearly missing and Lynyrd Skynyrd wins out over Bach in the battle of radio volume. Tension builds and David is tested daily over what it means to be a man ... tested by the local hicks and doubted by his lovely wife.

Things turn from bad to worse when the locals invite David to go hunting with them. What happens with Charlie and Amy during this time changes everything. This sequence was the key to the controversy of the original and what caused it to be banned in many cities and countries. Lurie chooses to handle it in a very straightforward manner - plus, times and mores have changed quite a bit in the last 40 years.

For me, the Peckinpah original remains a classic film with brilliant psychological undertones which left me feeling very uncomfortable and questioning what I might do in this situation. Lurie's new version offered little of that but does work fine as a straightforward suspenseful thriller.

47 of 67 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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