Funny Games (1997) is Still Disturbingly Amazing 20 Years Later

Normally I tend to leave the context of how I see these movies out of my reviews. I have to make an exception here, however. I first saw Michael Haneke’s Funny Games (the ’07 shot-for-shot English US remake, though this review will be about the Austrian ’97 original film) in a theater, by myself, while the rest of my family saw Ms. Pettigrew Lives for a Day (2008). There is no more perfect context for Haneke’s brutal indictment of cinematic voyeurism and violence than that very situation. I was alone, in the dark, and hiding from my family as a controversial, clever, and ruthless director put me through the ringer.

The plot, a textbook home invasion film scenario, follows a family (husband, wife, child, and dog) as they head to their vacation home, only to be beset by two young men in spotless white golf clothes. The pair put the family through a series of violent and psychologically torturous games and force them to fight for their lives. This plot is the hot glass that Haneke blows into a dynamic, beautiful, and dangerous work of subversive art.

Haneke is uninterested in conventional horror, but rather uses the medium of the genre film to make a larger point about how we, as an audience, consume violence and violent images. Haneke isn’t subtle or allegorical on this point. Even the title of the film, Funny Games, implies that horror audiences are entertained – albeit delighted – by what we see on the screen before us. It’s only fitting that the film was originally released in German, as it actively and enthusiastically follows the tradition of Bertolt Brecht. The fourth wall, the barrier between audience and drama, is obliterated with the opening credits of Funny Games. That obliteration takes the form of the white knuckle thrash metal audio-violence of the song “Bonehead” by the band Naked City.

The family, driving their car to their idyllic lake house, are playing a guessing game with opera CDs and the car stereo. Right as the audience and the family are lulled into safety, “Bonehead” blares and the blocky, ballistic title card “FUNNY GAMES” blasts onto the screen. We are assaulted; the family is unaware. Haneke announces, in no uncertain terms, that we are watching a movie.

Thankfully, though, it is a movie acted brilliantly by a truly gifted cast. The family unit is realistic, likable, and familiar even with the rough, touch-and-go language barrier of German between them and us. The mother, played flawlessly by Susanne Lothar, communicates the frustrations and joys of being a mom with just a single smile or laugh. The father, played by Ulrich Mühe, upholds conventional depictions of father figures with a vulnerability and gruffness that makes me want to call my own dad. Finally, it’s a small and perfect miracle that Haneke found a child actor that does not make me close my eyes and wish for a world without children (in the way most child actors do).

The family’s thoughtful and inquisitive son, Schorschi (Stefan Clapczynski), gives the film an entirely new dimension. During filming, Lothar and Mühe were a couple in real life, further expanding the realism and giving the viewer more reason to suspend their disbelief to buy whole-hog into the notion that this is a real family. That grounded portrayal of the family, before the violence to come, is what makes Haneke’s film possible. If there is to be a subversion of the genre, none of it can happen without a family and a world we believe in first.

Image result for the funny games 1997

Shortly after the music-as-violence opening credit sequence, the real brutality begins when two young men (played pitch-perfectly by Arno Frisch and Frank Giering) enter the family home and methodically, brutally, go about the business of dismantling a family. For example, in one horrifying scene, the mother is forced to strip naked in a game the villainous pair call “Cat In the Bag.”

I call attention to this scene, not for titillation, but because it’s one of immense stylistic importance to the film. When she strips, we are not shown her body; we are shown her face. Haneke knows he is making an exploitation film, but he wants us to know exactly what he’s exploiting for our entertainment. He’s showing us human suffering. Our entertainment is pain. Haneke wants us to think about why we value the simulation of torture, violence, and misery.

This question is buttressed by several more forced disruptions to the fourth wall. The villainous pair routinely ask the audience for their input. They unabashedly wink and nod and smile right at us. Funny Games is a mean, bitter, thoughtful bully of a movie and it feels more painful than entertaining. Haneke knows this, and, in the midst of his high-minded investigation of violence and voyeurism, also manages to create a perfectly paced and expertly choreographed, quintessential home invasion film.

Haneke understands that the audience must be spoken to in their language as well as his. The point of the film never dissolves or becomes confused. Funny Games proves definitively that movies can do more than entertain us. Movies can teach us something, even leave us with a question that will inform the way we watch every movie from that point forward.

In that dark theater with only me to watch it, Funny Games shifted my entire worldview. It changed the way I see horror. I no longer fear the masked killer, the rabid animal, or the vampire. Michael Haneke, in no uncertain terms, whispered the darkest secret of the genre into my ear with this film. All the nightmares of horror cinema, all the stabbings and bites and blood and guts, exist for a single purpose: because we asked for them. We are the bad guys, egging on these dark dreams until we have seen enough pain to go home happy.

About Billie Wood

Billie is a horror obsessed writer with a love of Giallo, Vincent Price, and any horror movie set in the West. She can't wait to tell you about how Videodrome is a sci-fi horror love letter to trans girls like her.

Check Also

The Curse of Bridge Hollow. (L to R) Priah Ferguson as Sydney, Marlon Wayans as Howard in The Curse of Bridge Hollow. Cr. Frank Masi/Netflix © 2022.

Movie Review: Netflix’s ‘The Curse of Bridge Hollow’ (2022) Delivers the Perfect Halloween Movie

I’m always a wee-bit hesitant when watching a new age, family-friendly Halloween film as many …

  • 4d toto macau
  • bandar togel
  • bo togel
  • bo togel
  • bandar togel
  • agen togel terpercaya
  • bandar togel terpercaya
  • dingdong togel
  • bandar togel online terpercaya
  • situs agen togel online
  • agen togel online terpercaya
  • bandar togel terbaik dan terpercaya
  • situs agen togel online
  • situs judi togel online
  • situs agen togel terpercaya
  • situs togel
  • daftar bandar togel online terpercaya
  • situs agen togel resmi
  • daftar bandar togel online terpercaya
  • daftar bandar togel online
  • situs agen togel terpercaya
  • situs agen togel online
  • agen togel resmi di indonesia
  • situs agen judi togel
  • situs togel
  • daftar bandar togel terbesar dan terpercaya
  • situs slot
  • bo togel online terpercaya
  • agen togel
  • bandar togel lengkap terbesar
  • togel online
  • bo togel terpercaya dan terbesar
  • aftar situs slot online
  • agen judi togel online
  • nama situs togel terpercaya
  • judi slot online
  • situs togel resmi toto
  • 10 situs togel terpercaya
  • situs togel resmi toto
  • bandar togel online
  • situs togel online terpercaya
  • situs judi togel resmi
  • situs judi togel online
  • bandar togel china resmi
  • bandar togel terpercaya
  • situs bandar togel toto online
  • situs judi togel 4d resmi
  • bandar togel hadiah 4d 10 juta
  • situs togel terbaik dan terpercaya
  • agen togel resmi di indonesia
  • bandar togel toto hongkong
  • bo togel bonus new member terbesar
  • situs slot deposit pulsa tanpa potongan
  • bo togel resmi di indonesia
  • daftar bandar togel terbesar dan terpercaya
  • situs judi togel online
  • agen bandar togel toto online
  • bandar lotre togel online
  • situs judi slot terbaik
  • situs togel resmi toto
  • bandar togel cambodia resmi
  • situs bo togel resmi
  • bandar togel hadiah 4d 10 juta terpercaya
  • bandar togel online terpercaya
  • agen bandar togel online
  • bo slot online terbaik
  • bandar togel online terbesar
  • bandar togel terpercaya dan terbesar
  • 10 situs togel terpercaya resmi
  • bandar togel terpercaya dan resmi
  • situs togel resmi dan terpercaya
  • situs bandar lotre togel
  • keluaran togel cambodia
  • situs togel online
  • situs agen togel online
  • bandar judi togel online
  • agen bandar togel online
  • situs togel terbaik
  • agen togel online terbesar
  • situs togel terpercaya dan terbesar
  • agen togel
  • bandar togel terbesar
  • situs judi slot
  • agen togel
  • daftar bandar togel terbesar dan terpercaya
  • bandar togel
  • situs togel
  • situs slot
  • bandar togel
  • slot resmi
  • Bandar Judi Togel Hari Ini Online24Jam Terpercaya 2022
  • bo togel
  • toto togel
  • togel deposit pulsa
  • togel hongkong
  • togel online
  • situs togel
  • situs bandar togel online terpercaya
  • bandar togel
  • agen togel terpercaya
  • situs togel
  • nama toto togel
  • togel online
  • togel online
  • situs togel
  • agen togel resmi
  • agen togel
  • situs togel
  • bandar togel
  • bandar togel
  • togel online
  • asia togel
  • situs togel
  • situs togel
  • situs togel
  • toto togel
  • togel online
  • bandar togel
  • agen togel
  • daftar togel
  • bandar togel
  • agen togel
  • situs togel online
  • situs togel
  • bandar togel
  • bandar togel
  • situs togel terpercaya
  • agen togel
  • situs judi togel
  • situs togel
  • agen togel
  • bandar togel
  • situs togel
  • situs togel
  • bo togel
  • agen togel
  • toto togel
  • bo togel
  • situs togel terpercaya
  • situs bandar togel
  • agen togel terpercaya
  • 5 bandar togel terpercaya
  • bo togel resmi
  • agen togel
  • situs togel online
  • situs togel resmi
  • daftar bandar togel
  • situs agen togel resmi
  • 4d toto macau
  • bandar togel
  • bo togel
  • 10 situs togel terpercaya
  • bandar togel
  • agen togel terpercaya
  • bandar togel terpercaya
  • dingdong togel
  • bandar togel online terpercaya
  • situs agen togel online
  • agen togel online terpercaya
  • bandar togel terbaik dan terpercaya
  • situs agen togel online
  • situs judi togel online
  • situs agen togel terpercaya
  • situs togel
  • daftar bandar togel online terpercaya
  • situs agen togel resmi
  • daftar bandar togel online terpercaya
  • daftar bandar togel online
  • situs agen togel terpercaya
  • situs agen togel online
  • agen togel resmi di indonesia
  • situs agen judi togel
  • daftar bandar togel terbesar dan terpercaya
  • situs slot
  • bo togel online terpercaya
  • agen togel
  • bandar togel lengkap terbesar
  • togel online
  • bo togel terpercaya dan terbesar
  • aftar situs slot online
  • agen judi togel online
  • nama situs togel terpercaya
  • judi slot online
  • situs togel resmi toto
  • 10 situs togel terpercaya
  • situs togel resmi toto
  • bandar togel
  • situs togel online terpercaya
  • situs judi togel resmi
  • situs judi togel online
  • bandar togel china resmi
  • bandar togel terpercaya
  • situs bandar togel toto online
  • situs judi togel 4d resmi
  • bandar togel hadiah 4d 10 juta
  • situs bandar togel
  • agen togel resmi di indonesia
  • bandar togel toto hongkong
  • bo togel bonus new member terbesar
  • situs slot deposit pulsa tanpa potongan
  • bo togel resmi di indonesia
  • daftar bandar togel terbesar dan terpercaya
  • situs judi togel online
  • agen bandar togel toto online
  • bandar lotre togel online
  • situs judi slot terbaik
  • situs togel resmi toto
  • bandar togel cambodia resmi
  • situs bo togel resmi
  • bandar togel hadiah 4d 10 juta terpercaya
  • agen bandar darat togel
  • agen bandar togel online
  • bo slot online terbaik
  • bandar togel online terbesar
  • bandar togel terpercaya dan terbesar
  • 10 situs togel terpercaya resmi
  • bandar togel terpercaya dan resmi
  • situs togel resmi dan terpercaya
  • situs bandar lotre togel
  • togel online
  • situs togel online
  • situs agen togel online
  • bandar judi togel online
  • agen bandar togel online
  • situs togel resmi
  • agen togel online terbesar
  • situs togel terpercaya dan terbesar
  • agen togel
  • bandar togel hadiah 4d 10 juta
  • situs judi slot
  • agen togel
  • daftar bandar togel terbesar dan terpercaya
  • bandar togel
  • situs togel
  • situs slot
  • bandar togel
  • slot resmi
  • Bandar Judi Togel Hari Ini Online24Jam Terpercaya 2022
  • bo togel
  • toto togel
  • togel deposit pulsa
  • togel hongkong
  • togel online
  • situs togel
  • situs bandar togel online terpercaya
  • bandar togel
  • agen togel terpercaya
  • situs togel
  • nama toto togel
  • togel online
  • togel online
  • situs togel
  • agen togel resmi
  • agen togel
  • situs togel
  • bandar togel
  • bandar togel
  • togel online
  • asia togel
  • situs togel
  • situs togel
  • situs togel
  • toto togel
  • togel online
  • bandar togel
  • agen togel
  • daftar togel
  • bandar togel
  • agen togel
  • situs togel online
  • situs togel
  • bandar togel
  • bandar togel
  • situs togel terpercaya
  • agen togel
  • situs judi togel
  • situs togel
  • agen togel
  • bandar togel
  • bo togel
  • bo togel
  • toto togel
  • bo togel
  • situs togel terpercaya
  • situs bandar togel
  • agen togel terpercaya
  • bo togel resmi
  • situs togel online
  • situs togel resmi
  • daftar bandar togel
  • situs agen judi togel
  • agen bandar togel
  • 5 bandar togel terpercaya
  • agen togel
  • bandar togel terpercaya
  • 10 situs togel terpercaya
  • situs agen togel resmi
  • situs agen togel resmi
  • bo togel online
  • situs togel
  • situs togel
  • situs agen togel
  • situs togel online
  • agen togel online
  • bandar togel terpercaya
  • toto togel
  • situs togel terpercaya
  • 5 bandar togel terpercaya
  • agen bandar togel resmi
  • situs togel terpercaya
  • bandar togel terpercaya
  • situs togel terpercaya
  • bo toto togel
  • situs resmi pasang togel
  • situs togel online
  • situs togel terpercaya
  • agen togel
  • situs judi togel online
  • situs togel terpercaya
  • situs togel
  • situs bo togel
  • bandar togel terpercaya
  • agen togel resmi
  • bandar togel terpercaya
  • daftar togel via dana
  • situs togel terpercaya
  • situs togel resmi
  • situs togel terpercaya
    situs togel agen togel agen togel toto situs togel online terpercaya situs agen togel resmi bandar togel terpercaya togel online situs togel terbaik situs togel 5 bandar togel terpercaya situs togel online situs togel online agen bandar togel situs togel terbesar situs togel online situs togel terpercaya agen togel resmi bandar togel terpercaya situs togel deposit pulsa daftar situs togel terpercaya keluaran semua togel hari ini situs togel resmi toto situs judi togel online bo togel terpercaya agen togel online agen togel terpercaya bandar togel terpercaya bo togel hadiah terbesar agen bandar togel bandar togel hadiah 2d 100rb bandar togel resmi situs resmi pasang togel 10 situs togel terpercaya agen togel terpercaya agen togel agen togel resmi bandar togel online 10 situs togel terpercaya bandar togel terpercaya bandar togel resmi agen togel resmi situs togel terpercaya agen togel singapore bandar togel terpercaya agen togel terpercaya situs agen togel online situs togel agen togel bandar judi togel bandar togel terpercaya situs agen togel terpercaya situs agen togel resmi agen togel resmi situs agen togel terpercaya bo togel terpercaya situs agen togel terpercaya situs togel online daftar situs togel terpercaya situs bandar togel online situs bandar togel resmi situs agen togel resmi situs togel terbesar situs agen togel online situs togel online terpercaya agen togel online resmi situs agen togel online agen bandar togel terpercaya situs agen togel terpercaya bo togel hadiah 2d 100rb situs agen togel terpercaya situs agen togel online situs bo togel hadiah terbesar situs agen judi togel situs togel terpercaya situs agen togel resmi agen togel online 10 situs togel terpercaya situs togel deposit pulsa situs resmi pasang togel daftar togel toto online agen togel online 10 situs togel terpercaya bandar togel hadiah terbesar agen toto togel