Original: Funny Games (1997)
Director: Michael Haneke
Stars: Naomi Watts, Tim Roth, Michael Pitt, Brady Corbet, Devon Gearhart
It makes perfect sense why filmmaker Michael Haneke would want to remake his psychological distress-machine Funny Games for our reality-TV-obsessed society; with its breaking of the fourth wall, Haneke’s 1997 original is a fascinating and disturbing look at how audiences, in their own unconscious ways, act as willing participants to slaughter while watching scenes of torture and murder.
Granted, killing one’s own brain cells in the face of Snooki looking for a public toilet isn’t comparable to full-blown homicide, but, still, Haneke’s message rings loudly in the 2008 film. Just like the ’97 flick, Funny Games observantly views two teenage sociopaths’ meticulous destruction of an innocent family, complete with one villain’s (Boardwalk Empire star Michael Pitt) dialogue spoken directly into the camera.
It’s also entirely bleak, right down to the scene in which (spoiler alert) one of the bad guys dies but comes back thanks to a simple push of an imaginary “Rewind” button.