Publications Director, Megan Hundley, has an affinity for going to see movies that pretty much bomb. As per usual, she’s got an opinion and wanted to write about it. This time it is a movie review of “Funny Games”, a movie in which the music plays a fairly integral role in setting the mood/tone.

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Listening to nice, calming music on the radio and driving along a serene mountainous landscape on their way to a beautiful landscape. This is how the family in the American version of the film Funny Games begins their story. The viewer is certainly put in their place when the name of the movie is flashed on screen in bold red letters at the same time that an incredibly scary death metal song is played, which is actually the song “Bonehead” by Naked City. I certainly jumped in my seat since I went into this movie knowing only that it was about a family who is visited by some unwelcome visitors, wearing creepy white gloves and what looks like tennis outfits, at their lake house.


Upon further investigation into this seemingly interesting story, I find that this movie is supposed to depict of the way violence is portrayed in the media. My first question was: How is it possible for the same writer/director to make the carbon copy of his previous work within 10 years of one another, let alone at all? Welcome to the world of writer/director Michael Haneke. His latest movie, Funny Games, starring Naomi Watts, is the exact same movie that he made precisely 10 years prior with, oddly enough, the same name. The only differences between the two films are the cast and the language.
My mantra during this movie was literally: “What the hell is going on?!” As soon as one of the creepy white-clad boys came to the family’s house asking for eggs and acted immensely uncomfortable and unsure of himself, I knew insanely weird things were going to happen (as if the death metal song in the beginning credits didn’t give that away, right off the bat). One of the first disturbing occurrences that took place was the disappearance of the family dog, which we later find falling lifelessly out of the trunk of the family’s Range Rover in the driveway. Well kids, the terror did not stop there. From that point in the movie on, the all-white-wearing young men terrorized by playing “games” with the family. While these young men were extremely creepy, they were also very polite. With a plethora of pleasantries exchanged through out the film, they always asked the family nicely to do such atrocious things. It’s no surprise that the tag line of the movie is “It’s easier when things are polite”.
While the two young men are relentlessly torturing the family, they keep calling one another a handful of different names. For instance, when the young man in charge calls his counterpart “Tom,” he then becomes “Jerry;” and then when he calls his partner “Bevis,” he is then “Butthead.” These pairs are both, of course, cartoon characters in relatively modern America and are recognized by the general public rather easily. I can see from this why the movie may have been named Funny Games, but I find even that to be a stretch.
One of the most interesting things about the movie is the fact that the young man who was in charge of the homicidal mania that was this movie breaks the fourth wall on numerous occasions. Periodically, throughout the movie, he asks the audience questions and tells the audience things he is thinking. The most memorable breaking of the fourth wall happens at the end of the movie, when he simply stares the viewer in the eye and you immediately know what is going to happen from that point on.


While the movie did not end up the way I might have wanted to, it certainly made a great impact on me. I certainly do not ever want to let creepy young men wearing all white anywhere near me. I fear I might never play tennis again because of this movie. Thanks for taking yet another life sport away from me, Mr. Haneke.

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