Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Straw Dogs(1971)

This movie is a special favourite of mine. It is not a horror film as such but it is a scary movie nonetheless and there is great suspense. A lot of people might not have heard of this movie as it was banned in the UK because of the now famous rape scene. But, thank God the film has been released uncut and people can make up their own minds what they think without being told by idiots who know nothing about good movies.

The movie begins with David Sumner(Dustin Hoffman) and his wife Amy(Susan George) who are moving back to Amy's native village in Cornwall, England. David is a mathematician and Amy feels left out while
David is working. They argue sometimes and Amy begins to flirt with the local lads who are working on their farmhouse. She is flirting mostly with a former boyfriend of hers, Charlie Venner(Del Henney). The film becomes very dark at this point with the local men making fun of the timid and intellectual David. Amy sees this and she resents David for not being more manly. They find their cat hanging from a rope. Amy is sure that the men did it but David will not make a stand against them and call them out.

There is tension in the movie as we are waiting for a confrontation to happen between David and the men. They are trying to push him as far as they can and he tries not to get angry, but it is getting harder as they taunt him more and more. Then, they invite him to go
hunting with them. He agrees to go and they leave him on his own while the men go to the farmhouse. Charlie rapes Amy and then the others join in. This scene was so controversial because it seems as if Amy is enjoying it and that was what got the movie banned.

David eventually returns, knowing that he was duped. Amy doesn't tell him what had happened. They are at a church social the next week and Amy becomes upset at seeing the men who raped her so David takes her home. On the way home, they hit the village weirdo Henry Niles(David Warner). They take him to their house so th
at they can get help for him. What they don't know is that Henry has strangled a young girl and the village yobs are looking for him. Mayhem ensues at this point as the villagers and the yobs descend on the farmhouse demanding to take Henry Niles. When David refuses, they try and break in. The local magistrate is shot dead and that is when David realises that they are going to die if they do not defend themselves. David suddenly steps up and he defends his house. There are plenty of deaths and the ending is bleak as David finishes the baddies off. He takes Henry Niles into town and then Henry tells him that he doesn't know his way home to which David replies that he doesn't either. There are no happy endings in this movie but it is a great film.

It is directed by Sam Peckinpah who directed classic westerns such as The Wild Bunch(1969) and Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid(1973). It was a change in direction for Peckinpah, but it is widely seen as one of his greatest movies. In my opinion, I think that it is a great psychological thriller and the idea of the timid man pushed past his breaking point is very interesting. It shows that you can only push someone so far before they will react. The sad thing is that there is going to be a remake of this next year. I am really sick and tired of the endless remakes! I give this a 10/10 and if you haven't seen it, do so immediately, before the remake comes out and ruins the whole thing! You won't be sorry. If you have, let me know what YOU thought of it.


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