A film that I was supposed to watch back in 2007 but just never got around to. Oddly enough this is the American remake of the Austrian film of the same name directed by the same filmmaker. Apparently, this film is a shot for shot remake of the previous incarnation. While I can’t judge how it holds up to the original, I can say this film is a rather elegant torture porn film.
The film is about two psychopaths (straight from the synopsis describing the characters) who invade a family’s home and torture them, while playing sick and sadistic games with them. It’s hard to say more about the film without really spoiling things, so I’ll refrain from talking much more about the plot. The film is not for people who can’t deal with uncomfortability in film; there’s a whole lot of it. Let’s face it, the film is quote grim. This isn’t really a hopeful film and you kind of have to expect that before going in.
The film is slow and prodding, often calculated. It’s tense, and meant to be that way. There’s a lack of things going on but it helps enhance the reality of the situation that the victims are in. This film has great performances from Naomi Watts and Michael Pitt. I bet this is what got Pitt his role on Boardwalk Empire. The filmmaker employs single takes which cover longer scenes. The camera is also quite personal to the characters plights. There’s a lack of score for giant portions of the film, it’s honestly a paced out horror film which isn’t very scary but gets you to root for the survival of its protagonists. The antagonists and their backstory could have used some exploration but I guess it wasn’t meant to be.
This film sort of fits in a sub genre of its own, and reminds me of more successful films like Vacancy and The Strangers. While there are aspects of the film which really work, I still thought the film feels very long and the lack of progression can hurt your attention to the film. At times the film is an arduous task. Off the bat, this film is a one time watch and probably not anything to rave about. It’s not a poorly made film by any means, one could point to it as a better film of the survivalist horror family.