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Review: ‘Funny Games’ Puts the Victims Lives in Your Hands

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Review: 'Funny Games' Puts the Victims Lives in Your Hands

What happens when the viewer becomes the Antagonist? Why, Funny Games, of course! Funny Games is a home invasion film Directed by Michael Haneke. Originally released in 1997 and then later remade shot for shot by Haneke in 2007, the film puts the victims lives in your hands. Although it is often viewed as a love letter to the “torture porn” genre, it is also overtly self aware and pokes fun at the genre.

We see a family of three on a vacation and we are given the typical character introductions. The family sees neighbors on the way to the vacation home, the mom cooks dinner, the father and son get their boat ready, etc. It’s a very typical set up. They had earlier seen one their neighbors with a couple of strangers they do not know, Peter and Paul. Peter comes over and asks to burrow some eggs. On his way out the door, he drops the eggs and the mother, Anne, goes to get him some more. Meanwhile, Paul accidentally knocks Anne cell phone into the full sink of water. As the audience, it’s very obvious to us what is happening. Paul leaves but within moments, she hears the dog barking and finds Peter and Paul inside the home. Paul reveals that the dog jumped on him, breaking the new set of eggs. Hearing all of the commotion, Husband George and son Georgie re-enter the home. Things escalate when the family asks Peter and Paul to leave. This ends with George slapping Paul in the face and the games begin.

This is another one of those “disturbing” movies that is not particularly gory. However, the film is extremely psychologically riveting. The main antagonist is Paul. He is obviously the ring leader. Paul breaks the fourth wall quite often and lets the audience “in” on what exactly is going on. The secret of this film is that it is only happening because you, the viewer, want to see it happen. The family asks the two why they are doing this but they never give a clear answer except for asking if the “why” really matters. At what point Anne asks Peter “Why don’t you just kill us already” to which Peter enthusiastically replies, “You shouldn’t forget the importance of entertainment”. There are many more examples throughout the film as to how we, the viewer, are responsible for what is happening to the family. It constantly predicts your every move and even stays one step ahead of you.

Funny Games 2007 Image

A lot of people do not enjoy this narrative. That’s the key about the movie. If you enjoy it, then you recognize you were in on it the whole time and if you don’t, it’s likely because the film deprives you of the usual torture displayed in these films and it’s not afraid to say so. So why and how does it make itself constantly recommended in this genre? Most fans of the genre feel the need to have to constantly justify themselves with the deep rooted thesis of these types of films. Meanwhile, Funny Games lays it on the table. When asked “Why are you doing this?” by George, Paul snaps back with “Why not?’ and that’s the point of art. There doesn’t have to be a point for you to enjoy it. So what’s the horror in Funny Games? You are.

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