“Funny Games” (1997/2007)


When it comes to the viewing experience.Some films require a second viewing.What one might dismiss as lackluster at first, might seem better the second time around.Case in point with Michael Haneke’s film Funny Games.Originally released in 1997 in Austria, then in 2007 in America with a different cast.The film has received praise from critics and fans alike.For its unconventional filming techniques.

I’m not going t lie.When I first saw this film I wasn’t impressed.I think the home invasion motif has been done almost to death by now.Whenever the fourth wall was broken I felt like i was watching an episode of The Young Ones, rather than a horror film.Although Haneke claims the film is more social commentary on violence in the media, it’s going to fall into the horror category due to the fan base that it appeals to.After giving this one a second glance however, my opinion had been altered slightly.Though I’m not exactly a huge fan of this film, and it’s not something I’d watch a million times over.I’ve come to appreciate the film a great deal more that I did at first glance.

First off, film is the ultimate exercise in voyeurism.We sit down in our comfort zones; a theatre or our own home, and watch the events unfold before us and take in every detail.The horror film allows us to view images of violence and bloodshed and not feel guilty about wallowing in our own deviant pleasures.This film challenges that sentiment.With antagonists who continually break the fourth wall.As I mentioned earlier, at first this didn’t really sink in with me,Until I thought about it a bit more t length. Haneke is taunting the audience and defying what would normally would be seen in a film of this nature.We always secretly expect that the victims in any horror movie will come out on top.With 4th wall break lines such as “Hey, you’re rooting for them aren’t you?” and even smiling at the camera when an act of violence has just occurred almost seems to be punishing someone for watching the film.Reminding us that the antagonists are thoroughly enjoying what they’re doing.When it seems a victim is about to come on top of the situation and knock off an assailant with the help of a shotgun, The killer simply “rewinds” the film with the use of a remote control.At first this seemed to be somewhat of a stretch for me, but I’ve come to appreciate that particular scene.

The other aspect of the film I’ve come to greatly appreciate is this; most of the death takes place off screen.Unlike a typical slasher flick, the audience is left to imagine the end result.Which is something lost on a lot of films in general these days.You should always leave something to your audiences imagination.It’s also somewhat of a taunt for the viewer who’s expecting to be dazzled with a flashy and bloody death.Guess what kids, real horror is what you don’t see.I’m always glad to see this old lesson still in use.

Even having villains who are dressed in white and well groomed is somewhat of a normal defying maneuver.Color in film always plays with our sensibilities and draws our eyes into a particular scene.We always subconsciously associate white with purity and good.A small detail, but one that I feel it’s important not to overlook.

Finally, One thing I need to address about this film is this; It’s sometimes a joy to watch the bad guys win.Although some viewers don’t like and can’t handle this, I feel it’s an important theme to have.Good does not always triumph over evil.The victims are the victims, the killers are the killers.Seeing a family tortured by a sadistic pair and killed off one by one challenges us to accept this.

Shall we play a game?


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