Straw Dogs (2011) follows David and his Wife, Amy (Played by James Marsden and Kate Bosworth) as they relocate to Amy’s home town in the deep south of America. There, tension builds between the couple and a gang of local thugs.
Sam Peckinpah’s 1971 Straw Dogs was a highly controversial film when it was released, and was banned from VHS release in the UK until 1984. It was ahead of its time, yet with a theme than remains relevant today, and most memorably, featured a particularly impressive performance from a young Dustin Hoffman.
This remake is quite faithful to the original story, yet it fails to reproduce the 1971 movies fiercely tense and uncomfortable atmosphere. It hasn’t improved on the first or brought anything new to the table, which in all makes it seem a little unnecessary. Although it successfully manages to build some suspense, it focuses on the basic violence and revenge premise a little too much, where as the original managed to combine these with a captivating look at the dark complexities behind human behaviour in extreme situations and what they will do to survive.
The production, writing, and acting are all credible, although a little unimaginative and conservative. Alexander Skarsgård (True Blood) has clearly pulled in a sizable audience, and its creators have used this to their advantage. To his credit, he is probably the only exceptional thing about this movie, giving a thoroughly solid performance, and even adding a welcome chilling, elegance to his role, a slight variation from his 1971 equivalent.
Overall, It’s an enjoyable film and certainly worth a watch, but ultimately if you want to see a wonderfully ugly, brutal and provocative movie that won’t be easily forgotten, then rent the original instead.