"STRAW DOGS" — ★★ — James Marsden, Kate Bosworth, Alexander Skarsgard, Dominic Purcell, Laz Alonso, James Woods; R (vulgar language, violence, gore, sexual situations, rape, strong adult themes); in general release
Kate Bosworth and James Marsden star as Amy and David Sumner, a successful young Hollywood couple who return to Amy's childhood home in Mississippi after the death of her father.
As a screenwriter, David sees this as the perfect opportunity to get away from distractions while he focuses on his latest writing project. Amy is welcomed back as a celebrity in the old home town because of a starring role in a now cancelled TV series.
David's introduction to the community is a foray into the local watering hole where every Southern stereotype possible is amplified to painful distortion.
He's introduced to "Coach," a near psychotic, former high school coach played way over-the-top by James Woods.
Always on the verge of implosion, Coach's demons are focused on a mentally handicapped resident of the town, Jeremy, who is reminiscent of Lenny, Steinbeck's character from "Of Mice and Men."
And then there's Charlie — played by Alexander Skarsgard — and his posse of self proclaimed rednecks, all of whom aren't shy in their display of smoldering lust for David's wife.
Seems Charlie and Amy were quite the item back in the day.
In an on-going series of bad decisions, Amy and David hire Charlie and his crew to do repairs on the old barn that was damaged during a hurricane.
Up until now, Amy appears to be a rather sympathetic character, but as the redneck posse perches daily atop her barn, she and David start to have disagreements about the effects of her revealing jogging attire … no, I'm not kidding … and for some inexplicable reason, Amy decides to make things worse by teasing the leering crew.
Well, all this and other, seemingly mild missteps and a few social faux pas all combine to create an environment ripe for rape and even murder.
When Coach's daughter goes missing and Jeremy is suspected, a chain of events is unleashed that leads to a siege of the Sumner home where the couple is trying to protect Jeremy until local law enforcement can sort things out.
Without going into detail, let me wrap up by simply recounting some of the ways people die in this film.
Let's see, there's strangulation, nail gun, window glass, shot gun blast, high-powered rifle fire, oh, and the biggie … death by bear trap.
The violence is not only profound, it's ridiculous.
As the movie thankfully draws to an overdue conclusion, it's easy not to be too broken up about those who died and not particularly overjoyed by those that survived.
Technically, I suppose, this is a remake but the 2011 version is so different and nowhere near as good as the 1971 Dustin Hoffman version of "Straw Dogs." "Straw Dogs" is rated R for vulgar language, violence, gore, sexual situations, rape, strong adult themes; running time: 109 minutes.
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