October – The month of death and scares. Changing leaves and colder weather. It’s a month that builds up to its final day, and many’s favorite day of the year, Halloween.
It’s become a marketing tool for many horror films, to release their films of horror during the it’s thematic month. No one can deny it’s effective marketing. As a boy who grew up, glued to the television, for ABC Family’s “31 Days of Halloween,” it’s safe to say that I know every word of Hocus Pocus, but nothing about Pumpkin Spice Lattes.
It’s the year I bust out my favorite horror flicks from the trusty DVD shelf, and kick back with a beer or two, watching some long-forgotten gems.
So throughout the course of the month, I’ll throw out a film I would pop in the DVD player for a little spook or scare.
1. Funny Games
Released in 2007, this horror/thriller flick tells the story of George, Ann, and Georgie Farber, (played by Tim Roth, Naomi Watts, and Devon Gearhart, respectively) who go on a weekend trip to their lake cabin, only to have their vacation ruined by two (very polite, but gruesome) intruders.
The intruders, Peter and Paul, (played by Brady Corbet and Michael Pitt) are donned in all white golf attire, and appear to be pleasant friends of their neighbors, just looking to borrow some eggs.
Things quickly take a turn for the worse when the wife senses hostility in their intentions and asks the man of the house to deal with it, which ends with a golf club to the leg, and an inability to walk.
Peter and Paul make a bet with the family of three, that they won’t be alive by 9:00 am, and force them to withstand humiliating games and torture.
The film is a shot-for-shot remake of the 1997 Austrian film of the same name. As a matter of fact, it’s even directed by Michael Haneke, who directed the original. The film wasn’t panned by critics, but it wasn’t praised, either.
What I love most about this film, is that it is scary because most of the brutality forces you to use your imagination. A lot of the violence doesn’t happen on screen. It’s not a visual film, it’s a film that uses literally, 2 songs throughout its 111 minute runtime. The rest of it, are the sounds of either dialogue, heavy breathing, or nature itself.
The acting from all 5 actors, is superb. Naomi Watts, is incredible. And Tim Roth really puts on a great performance.
Pitt and Corbet are brutal, smug and sarcastic, yet somehow loveable and funny.
This isn’t a film for everyone. As a matter of fact, there is a single shot that lasts maybe 20 minutes, and it’s just Naomi Watts’ character trying to get up off the floor.
But for me, this is a film I watch every year, around Halloween, and I love it.
— Phoenix Finke