I've gone on and on and on about how great horror movies are and how I still can't bring myself to watch any of them. I remember trying to watch The Strangers, getting feelings of godawful anxiety, and turning it off because god dammit I was an adult and didn't have to put up with anything that made me uncomfortable. So it really, really sucks that I will never bring myself to watch either version of Michael Heneke's Funny Games. Not only because Boardwalk Empire has made me a fan of Michael Pitt, and not only because the idea of a director remaking his own film shot-for-shot a few years later sounds amazing, but mainly because the movie is constantly violating the fourth wall to include and implicate the audience in the horrors going on around -- and, more importantly, for -- them. Here's a few choice cuts. There's no violence, but the first scene has a dead dog in it, so heads up:
The idea that the innocent family in the movie is terrorized, tortured and murdered for the audience's pleasure and the audience's pleasure alone is brought right up to the audience on a silver platter. The most infamous scene, and one of the hardest fourth wall breaks in a non-comedy, follows. If you don't want to watch it: one of the antagonists is killed when the wife of the tortured family grabs suddenly grabs a shotgun and kills him. The other antagonist finds a remote control, rewinds the film, and grabs the gun right before she does. Needless to say, this scene contains gore and the rest of the mise en scene of a home invasion flick:
The boys who are torturing this family are doing it for us, and they will use our techniques as the audience of a film when their techniques are not enough. The victims aren't given a chance to fight back against the flow of violence even when they succeed. Nothing prevents this movie from going to its inevitable and desired conclusion and the cycle starts again with a new family at the end. Goddamn if I didn't wish I had the temerity to watch this damn movie.