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!!!