Straw Dogs (2011 film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Rod Lurie|
|Produced by||Rod Lurie
|Screenplay by||Rod Lurie|
|Story by||David Zelag Goodman
|Based on||The Siege of Trencher's Farm
by Gordon Williams
by Sam Peckinpah
|Music by||Larry Groupé|
|Editing by||Sarah Boyd|
|Distributed by||Screen Gems|
|Running time||110 minutes|
Straw Dogs is a 2011 American psychological thriller film directed, produced, and written by Rod Lurie. It is a remake of Sam Peckinpah's 1971 film of the same name, itself based on the Gordon Williams novel The Siege of Trencher's Farm. It stars James Marsden and Kate Bosworth. Critical reception of the film was generally lukewarm, and it performed poorly at the box office.
Los Angeles scriptwriter David Sumner (James Marsden) and his wife, TV actress Amy Sumner (Kate Bosworth), move to Blackwater, Mississippi, where Amy grew up, to rebuild Amy's recently deceased father's house, and so that David can finish a script. David meets Amy's ex-boyfriend Charlie Venner (Alexander Skarsgård) and his friends Norman (Rhys Coiro), Chris (Billy Lush) and Bic (Drew Powell), whom he hires to fix the barn's roof, which was recently badly damaged by a hurricane. David also meets former football coach Tom Heddon (James Woods), whose 15-year-old daughter Janice (Willa Holland) is attracted to a local mentally handicapped man, Jeremy Niles (Dominic Purcell), who lives with his brother Daniel (Walton Goggins). Heddon often bullies Jeremy, who may have committed a crime in the past, and believes Jeremy is stalking his daughter.
Charlie and his friends begin taunting David, who is initially condescending to their customs. The taunting escalates into harassment as they make crude remarks towards Amy whom they call "Amy Cakes" and play loud music to annoy David and prevent him from working on his screenplay. Amy goes jogging with skimpy clothing and afterward complains that the men were ogling her, to which David responds she should dress more modestly and mentions the fact that she is not wearing a bra. Angry at his comments, Amy goes upstairs to take a bath, but opens the bathroom window/shutter, and disrobes provocatively in clear view of the workmen, who are working on the barn across the yard.
Later, somebody breaks into the house and strangles the couple's cat and hangs it inside the couple's closet while they are at a social gathering. David is hesitant to confront the men about the cat's death without direct evidence of their involvement, but, at Amy's urging, he makes an attempt to question the men. Amy interrupts and tries to question them herself. Charlie and his friends deny everything. Shortly thereafter, while David is away hunting with the men, Charlie forces his way into the house and overpowers Amy, removes her underwear and rapes her. She stops fighting back, but remains stiff and refuses to kiss him. Suddenly, Norman appears and violently rapes her across the back of the couch "doggy-style" while Charlie watches from the other side of the room.
David returns, after having been first shot at, then abandoned in the woods, by the men, but Amy does not tell him about the rapes. David fires the men the next day. At Amy's insistence, they go to a local football game. Meanwhile, Janice takes Jeremy to an empty locker area and attempts to give him oral sex. Heddon has noticed her absence and begins looking for her, and as he approaches, Jeremy, scared of Heddon discovering them, holds his hand over Janice's mouth to silence her, accidentally smothering her to death. He runs away just as Heddon informs Charlie and his friends of Janice's disappearance and deduces that Jeremy has done something to her.
Amy becomes uncomfortable with Charlie's presence and asks David to take her home. On the way, she tells him she wants to return to Los Angeles, surprising him and causing him to accidentally run over Jeremy, causing him serious injury. David and Amy take him to their home and call an ambulance. Charlie and Norman overhear the ambulance call, as they monitor radio transmissions using a police scanner, and tell Heddon. He goes to David and Amy's house with Charlie, Norman, Chris and Bic, and they arrive before the Sheriff John Burke (Laz Alonso) does (he also must have heard the call). Heddon confronts David, but David says he will only turn Jeremy over to the state authorities. The Sheriff arrives, but an aggravated Heddon kills the Sheriff at the front door and attempts to enter the house. David takes Amy and Jeremy upstairs to the bedroom and prepares to fight off the men. Frustrated, Charlie destroys David's car, incidentally igniting the barn.
When Chris attempts to break into the house through a window, David nails his hands to the sill and wall with a nail gun, leaving his throat fatally exposed to broken glass shards. When Heddon tries to follow, David burns his face with boiling vegetable oil. Heddon and Charlie decide to ram down one of the house's walls with Charlie's pick-up truck. They succeed, but Charlie is momentarily knocked unconscious. Meanwhile, David overpowers Heddon, causing Heddon to accidentally shoot his own foot. David takes the opportunity to shoot Heddon in the chest, killing him. He then beats Bic to death with a fireplace poker. Upstairs, Amy and Jeremy are attacked by Norman who has climbed through a window with a ladder. Norman is attempting to rape Amy again when David and Charlie appear. Charlie and Norman draw on each other when Norman threatens to kill Amy. Focusing on each other, they do not see Amy retrieve a shotgun. She fatally shoots Norman, but then Charlie assaults and disarms her, and then David jumps on him.
David and Charlie fight, and Charlie overpowers David. As Charlie puts his pistol to David's forehead, Amy aims the shotgun at Charlie. Charlie reminds Amy the gun is empty, but the distraction gives David the opportunity to kill him by ensnaring his head with a bear trap. David and Amy watch as Charlie is strangled by the trap and dies on the floor. As sirens approach, David walks outside and looks at the burning barn, announcing, "I got 'em all".
- James Marsden as David Sumner
- Kate Bosworth as Amy Sumner
- Alexander Skarsgård as Charlie Venner
- James Woods as "Coach" Tom Heddon
- Dominic Purcell as Jeremy Niles
- Rhys Coiro as Norman
- Billy Lush as Chris
- Laz Alonso as Sheriff John Burke
- Willa Holland as Janice Heddon
- Walton Goggins as Daniel Niles
- Anson Mount as Coach Milkens
- Drew Powell as Bic
Marsden and Bosworth appeared, as an engaged couple, five years earlier in Superman Returns.
The film was originally scheduled for release on February 25, 2011. However the date was pushed to September 16, 2011. The film began shooting on August 16, 2009 in Shreveport and Vivian, Louisiana.
Straw Dogs received mixed reviews; Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 41% based on reviews from 119 critics, with the consensus "This remake streamlines the plot but ultimately makes a fatal mistake: It celebrates violence". Metacritic gives the film a score of 45% based on 29 reviews, indicating "mixed or average reviews".
Carrie Rickey of the Philadelphia Inquirer gave the film 1.5 out of 4 stars stating that Straw Dogs "almost succeeds as an object lesson in the difference between being a man and being a macho animal. But it fails as a gripping home-invasion thriller". Michael Phillips of the Chicago Tribune called the film "a bird-brained remake" that is "miscast, barely functional in terms of technique, stupid and unnecessary" and rated it 1 out of 4 stars. Wesley Morris of the Boston Globe, wrote that watching Straw Dogs was like "being waterboarded by liberals outside a Democratic National Committee event".
Roger Ebert of The Chicago Sun-Times gave the film 3 out of a possible 4 stars, and states "This new version of "Straw Dogs" is a reasonably close adaptation of the 1971 film by Sam Peckinpah. Change the location from England to Mississippi, change a mathematician into a screenwriter, keep the bear trap and the cat found strangled, and it tells the same story. It is every bit as violent. I found it visceral, disturbing and well-made", and said he preferred it to the original. Elizabeth Weitzman of the New York Daily News was also favorable towards the film, giving it 4 out of 5 stars, declaring that "while Lurie could have gone lighter on the symbolism, he ratchets up the tension with deft intelligence. He's not just making a thriller but a horror film, and we feel his own fear in every scene".
- "Straw Dogs (18)". British Board of Film Classification. 2011-08-26. Retrieved 2011-08-31.
- Kaufman, Amy (September 15, 2011). "Movie Projector: 3-D version of 'Lion King' to reign at box office". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 17, 2011.
- Straw Dogs at Box Office Mojo
- "Straw Dogs (2011) – International results". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved February 9, 2014.
- Michael Fleming (2009-08-16). "Cast set for 'Straw Dogs' remake". Variety. Retrieved 2009-09-21.
- "Straw Dogs (2010)". ComingSoon.net. Retrieved 2010-11-20.
- "Sony Screen Gems' Violent Confrontation with 'Straw Dogs' Delayed". Bloody-Disgusting.com. Retrieved 2010-11-20.
- "Straw Dogs (2011) (2011) - Daily Box Office Results - Box Office Mojo". Box Office Mojo. 2011-09-18. Retrieved 2011-09-18.
- Straw Dogs at Rotten Tomatoes
- Straw Dogs at Metacritic
- Carrie Rickey (2011-09-16). "Remake fails as home-invasion thriller". Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved 2011-09-30.
- Phillips, Michael (September 15, 2011). "'Straw Dogs' a '70s provocation rendered senseless by a remake". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved October 2, 2011.
- Wesley Morris (2011-09-16). "Straw Dogs". Boston Globe. Retrieved 2011-09-30.
- Roger Ebert (2011-09-14). "Straw Dogs". Chicago Sun Times. Retrieved 2011-09-18.
- Elizabeth Weitzman (2011-09-16). "Straw Dogs". New York Daily News. Retrieved 2011-09-30.
- Official website
- Straw Dogs at the Internet Movie Database
- Straw Dogs at allmovie
- Straw Dogs at Box Office Mojo
- Straw Dogs at Rotten Tomatoes
- Straw Dogs at Metacritic