3 Reviews
Sort by:
Funny Games (1997)
Violent, nihilistic, and unrelenting
19 April 2003
About a year ago, I ordered this film from a movie store. I had heard about it from the magazine Fangoria a few years back, and wanted to see it ever since. I was highly anticipating its arrival a year back, and when I finally got my hands on it, I was in for the ride! This is one of the most disturbing, chilling, and creepy films I have seen in the past 20 years at least. I mean what other movie has the balls to torture an innocent little boy? I can think of none at the moment. There have been other films like this in the 70's, and a few in the late 80's-early 90's and on including 1990's "Desperate Hours," 1991's "Cape Fear," "Natural Born Killers," "Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer," "Kalifornia," "If I Die Before I Wake," and the recent "House of 1000 Corpses," which I hope takes horror movies to a higher level!

But back to "Funny Games." The "games" in this movie, are not funny. Not one whole minute of this movie is funny. It is unsettling, intense, and ironic at parts. The plot is simple. A family of three (four, counting the dog) are taking a vacation at a serene looking spot near a lake. But even during the opening credits, we well know that the tone of the film, is anything but serene as John Zorn's crazy death metal blares at you all of a sudden in a creepy frenzy of buzzing guitars, high-pitched screams, and incoherent lyrics that assaults your senses! Not even ten minutes into the film, the family meets two strangers who claim to be friends of the neighbors, in which they apparently force their way into their home and force them to play their fiendish "games."

The cast in this film is terrific! Our leads Susann Lothar and Ulrich Muhe are compelling in their roles of the mother and father forced to endure mental and physical torture from their captors. The Stefan Clapczynski who plays the little boy is effective as an innocent who is helpless to defend himself or his family. Arno Frisch is ruthless and brilliant in his role of the sadistic leader of the two, Paul (or Jerry, or Butt-head). Frank Giering is creepy in his role of Paul's sidekick Peter (or Fatty, Fatso, Tom, or Beavis). To add to the creepiness of the film, the leader Paul, occasionally shifts his glance to the camera, and either winks at it, or makes us, as an audience, participate in the film saying quotes like, "You're on their side, aren't you?" This approach disturbed me and actually made me think that I had no power to stop these sickos! Very few movies have that effect on me nowadays.

The directing is top-notch. I found it interesting that in the most violent scenes of the movie, the camera went somewhere else, or shifted to the person doing the violence, rather than actually showing the bloodshed. So all you gorefans out there won't be impressed with the little to no gore in this film. I love gore as much as the next person, but I didn't mind the limited blood. It was the content of the film that impressed me. This isn't "Natural Born Killers," folks, but it's still an amazing film.

So, in final summation, any horror fans want a movie to get under your skin and stay there a few hours after you watch it? Then see this film!! It's a masterpiece of modern horror. It's basically "Last House on the Left" meets "Desperate Hours," meets "Cape Fear." Out of Five Stars: Five stars!! This film is not for everyone, but see it anyway for its sheer thrills and raw intensity!!!
1 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
"It's true....the boogeyman is real, and you've found him.
13 April 2003
I love that line! I remember hearing that line in a cool trailer I saw while watching "Urban Legend 2". Obviously, this was a way better movie!!! Besides "Scream," and "Funny Games," this is the best horror film in the past 15 years!!! We wanted blood, and we got it!!! Whoa, that would have been another great line in this "uber celebration of depravity" as those lame Universal execs so succinctly called it. This flick was definitely worth the wait!!!

First off, the directing: Rob Zombie gave this film a unique visual style I had never seen in a film before. It was well made and very well edited. I loved the split-screens, filters, stock footage, use of color, and that infamous slow motion shot (I loved that scene!). Although he borrowed a little from "Natural Born Killers," "Texas Chainsaw Massacre," and "Last House on the Left," what great horror film doesn't nowadays? Seriously!! So Mr. Zombie brought something new to the table, and will hopefully make a great contribution to horror (he has already in my opinion).

Secondly, the acting: Sid Haig and Bill Moseley totally stole the show!! They made horrifying, creepy, and relentless screen sickos, and gave me hope for the screen villain again (as opposed to lame efforts by thugs in cheap masks). Mrs. Zombie, or Sheri Moon, was totally insane as well as hot! Also, genre veterans Karen Black, Micheal J. Pollard, and Irwin Keyes brought creepiness to their insane roles! Tom Towles was also good in a good guy role! The late Dennis Fimple was hilarious as Grandpa Hugo! Newcomers Matthew McGrory and Robert Mukes were disturbing in their roles as Tiny and Rufus. As for the "victims," Chris Hardwick's Jerry was the only one I reasonably liked. The other three made lame efforts at acting, and need lessons from Marilyn Burns, and the cast of "The Hills Have Eyes"!! So it was hard to root for them, which was another twisted feat that Zombie accomplished. I actually rooted for the villains!!!!

Thirdly, the music: I loved the music!! It fit well with the atmosphere of the film! I own the soundtrack, and I loved it! My favorite song was the title theme, of course! I was expecting songs from Black Sabbath, The Stooges, Sex Pistols, Alice Cooper, Deep Purple, King Crimson, Blue Oyster Cult, and other "creepy" bands, but oh well. I was satisfied. I also loved the film's score.

Lastly, the atmosphere at the theater I was at: It was totally insane!!! People were screaming, jumping, laughing, walking out, and commenting loudly on how awesome it was!!! I was surprised there was such a packed audience, and it was barnone the best theater-going experience I had ever had!!!

Overall, this film is a creepy, intense, amazing, disturbing, and darkly funny attack on the senses!!! I definitely can't wait to see it again in the theater and to buy the DVD! Finally, a real horror movie with balls the size of Canada has hit the masses!!! This gives me great hope for the new wave of horror: the 70's throwback horror film!! There's plenty this year with "Irreversible," "Cabin Fever," "Wrong Turn," "Jeepers Creepers 2," "Highwayman," and the "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" remake!!! Out of Five Stars: FIVE STARS!!!!! See this movie!! All Rob Zombie fans, metal music fans, horror fans, or people who want to see a hardcore horror film should go out and see this movie!! If you like it, you're awesome!! If you don't, I guess you're not ready for hardcore horror.
92 out of 152 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
"It's true....the boogeyman is real. And you found him."
13 April 2003
I love that line from this film! I remember hearing it when the first trailer was out back in late 2000. Now, I have finally seen the Holy Grail of horror films, and I must say, it was worth the wait.

First off, directing: Rob Zombie brings a unique directing style to this film. He uses filters, different mediums of film, stock footage, slow motion shots, and many other artsy ways of bringing his celluloid hightmare to the big screen! Although it borrowed a little from "Natural Born Killers" and "TCM" (which are both films I love), but what great film hasn't? Seriously! Anyways, it was very well made and well edited.

Second, the acting: Sid Haig and Bill Moseley steal the show! They make creepy, deranged, and unremorseful screen sickos, and I applaud them for that! Zombie's wife Sheri Moon easily proved she could be insanely sick as well as incredibly hot (could have done without the laugh though)! Genre veterans Karen Black, Micheal J. Pollard, and Irwin Keyes made the most of their insane roles, and newcomers Matthew McGrory and Robert Mukes had disturbing roles as Mother Firefly's twisted sons Tiny and Rufus. Chris Hardwick's Jerry was the only "victim" I liked. the other three displayed some bad acting, especially in the situation they were in. Other than those three, I loved the acting.

Thirdly, the music: I own this film's soundtrack, and I love it! The songs are great, the music score is great, and how they reflected the movie was great.

Fourth, the gore: there's not much here, but who needs a lot of gore? I don't care! Look at "Texas Chainsaw Massacre"! There wasn't that much gore in it, and look how twisted and creepy that film was! So yeah, you don't need a lot of gore to make a great horror film!

Overall, this was an amazing, bizarre, nightmarish, disturbing, darkly funny ride into the mind of the Hellbilly himself, Rob Zombie! In my opinion, this is the best horror film since "Scream" and "Funny Games"! Finally, a film with balls the size of Canada has come to usher in a new wave of terror: the 70's throwback horror film!!! Forget "Scream" and all those "teens in peril" rip-offs! This is the next big thing in horror!!! Out of 5 stars: 5 STARS!!!!! See this movie!! If you like it, you're awesome! If you don't, you must not be ready for hardcore horror!
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this