The 1971 version of this film, starring Dustin Hoffman and co-written and directed by the Sam Peckinpah (The Wild Bunch), is a classic tale of violence visited upon the innocent, and how violence begets violence. This remake, directed by a capable Rod Lurie (The Contender), stars James Marsden and Kate Bosworth and is set in the rural South instead of rural England, but the story stays surprisingly close to the original.

A couple of city mice move to the country, and the hubby is a fish out of water in his wife’s home (hick) town. He’s not welcomed by the locals, relationships are strained and things get ugly, his wife is brutally violated and before all is said and done the couple's home is horribly and terribly besieged, and they must fight for their very lives.

Straw Dogs is one of those films that should not have been remade (at the very least with present company). Instead of improving on the original it only manages to come off as a grainy monochrome copy of a colorful masterwork. Like the original it is brutal and violent, but here the violence seems gratuitous and expected whereas in Peckinpah’s version it manages to shock us and disturb us and haunt us still 40 years later.

If you are tempted to watch this film, do yourself a favor and find the original, now out on Blue-Ray.


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