Straw Dogs (2011) James Marsden, Kate Bosworth, Alexander Skarsgård, James Woods Movie Review

Straw Dogs (2011)   3/53/53/53/53/5

James Marsden and Kate Bosworth in Straw Dogs (2011)

Blackwater Dogs

Having left Blackwater and become an actress, Amy (Kate Bosworth) and her husband David Sumner (James Marsden), a screenwriter from Hollywood, return home when her dad passes and she inherits the family home. But the barn next to the old place needs fixing up and her former beau, Charlie (Alexander Skarsgård), and his men are hired to fix it up making David a little uneasy to have him around. The local way of doing things with early hours, relaxed attitudes, loud music and raucous behaviour is also alien to Charlie who finds the locals intimidating. As he finds himself increasingly belittled and intimidated by the locals his primitive instincts come to the fore as he ends up snapping.

Despite having watched and reviewed thousands of movies there is still a huge list of significant movies I am yet to get to with Sam Peckinpah's "Straw Dogs" being one of those movies. As such you won't find any comparisons between Peckinpah's original and this 2011 update here but you will find my usual comment that remakes are never made for the fans of the original but usually for a new generation who might not get what others saw in the original movie.

Alexander Skarsgård in Straw Dogs (2011)

Now the first half of "Straw Dogs" is nicely put together as we enter Blackwater a red neck town of full on red blooded characters and as such city boy David is a fish out of water and one who tries to gain friends but finds himself intimidated by the raucous nature of the local men. But on top of that element of culture clash we have tension as Charlie still has a thing for Amy and David feels the need to try and stand up to him. There are also other issues going on with James Woods as the full on former football coach who drinks heavy, hits hard and is abusive to anyone especially the local idiot. It is a good build up with an increasing level of tension and a series of events which lead to just a touch of mystery as to what is going on especially as Amy has a dangerous, confrontational side herself.

But this all builds up to a violent ending with David of course getting pushed beyond his limits and losing it big time. The thing is that whilst the build up puts all the building blocks nicely in place it loses it by just going for in your face nastiness. For some the viciousness of the violence will entertain but for me it was too extreme after such a solid build up and not extreme in the right way.

What this all boils down to is that "Straw Dogs", as in this 2011 remake, is not a bad movie when you consider it is made for a modern audience rather than fans of the original. But it makes a wrong decision when it comes to the violent ending which sadly spoils all the build up.