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Straw Dogs (2011)

tomatometer

41

Average Rating: 5.2/10
Reviews Counted: 119
Fresh: 49 | Rotten: 70

This remakes streamlines the plot but ultimately makes a fatal mistake: It celebrates violence.

48

Average Rating: 5.4/10
Critic Reviews: 27
Fresh: 13 | Rotten: 14

This remakes streamlines the plot but ultimately makes a fatal mistake: It celebrates violence.

audience

34

liked it
Average Rating: 2.8/5
User Ratings: 18,441

My Rating

Movie Info

David and Amy Sumner (James Marsden and Kate Bosworth), a Hollywood screenwriter and his actress wife, return to her small hometown in the deep South to prepare the family home for sale after her father's death. Once there, tensions build in their marriage and old conflicts re-emerge with the locals, including Amy's ex-boyfriend Charlie (Alexander Skarsgard), leading to a violent confrontation. -- (C) Sony Pictures

R,

Mystery & Suspense

Rod Lurie

Dec 20, 2011

$10.3M

Sony Pictures/Screen Gems - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (123) | Top Critics (28) | Fresh (49) | Rotten (70) | DVD (2)

A routine, if rather gruesome thriller with attractive leads ducking in and out of danger.

September 23, 2011 Full Review Source: Globe and Mail
Globe and Mail
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Lurie, like Peckinpah, is fascinated by the idea that the seemingly mild, non-confrontational pacifist may be the villain in all of this.

September 18, 2011 Full Review Source: ReelViews
ReelViews
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Everything here plays out to the same beats and yet ultimately results in conventional revenge-minded catharsis rather than queasy ambivalence.

September 16, 2011 Full Review Source: Film.com
Film.com
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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.

September 16, 2011 Full Review Source: New York Daily News | Comment (1)
New York Daily News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

One of those movies that sits in an armchair, smokes a pipe and reflects "seriously" on "the question of violence," but the main reason to see it is for the hilariously nasty uses it devises for a bear trap, nail gun, etc.

September 16, 2011 Full Review Source: New York Post | Comments (2)
New York Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Lurie's smart enough to know that we're supposed to be disturbed -- and not titillated -- by the savagery the movie depicts.

September 16, 2011 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

On the bright side, it's probably the only movie ever made to boast kickass tunes by the southern-rock triumvirate of Lynyrd Skynyrd, Molly Hatchet, and Blackfoot.

February 15, 2013 Full Review Source: Georgia Straight

Straw Dogs does little more than rely on graphic violence as well as outdated stereotypes to keep the tension high.

October 2, 2012 Full Review Source: ScreenRant
ScreenRant

The best that can be said about Straw Dogs is that it's watchable: and that's due to Alexander Skarsgard's stellar abs.

September 22, 2012 Full Review Source: We Got This Covered
We Got This Covered

In the history of remakes, this really isn't a bad one...

June 7, 2012 Full Review Source: Cinema Crazed
Cinema Crazed

Comes off like its poster: a copycat that superficially looks the same but lacks in inspiration.

April 6, 2012 Full Review Source: TheMovieReport.com
TheMovieReport.com

There's nothing profound or mysterious about Straw Dogs. The performances are solid, but the movie is mostly forgettable.

January 29, 2012 Full Review Source: IGN DVD
IGN DVD

It doesn't even work as a thriller. And of course, like the 70s original, it just turns into an all-out blood bath at the end - which can't help but notch up the campiness.

January 13, 2012 Full Review Source: Scene-Stealers.com
Scene-Stealers.com

It was a different era, a different time in American culture. Sam Peckinpah's 1971 'Straw Dogs' arguably has become a classic. It was a controversial film when it was released because of its depiction of a sexual assault.

December 22, 2011 Full Review Source: KWQC-TV (Iowa)
KWQC-TV (Iowa)

Rod Lurie's film equals the original and surpasses it in many ways.

December 14, 2011 Full Review Source: OK! Magazine | Comment (1)
OK! Magazine

The hunting scenes and the brutal farm siege are solidly gripping, and Lurie doesn't shy away from David embracing his inner savage.

December 8, 2011 Full Review Source: Fan The Fire
Fan The Fire

Lurie makes the same point as Peckinpah, namely that, when survival is threatened, even the most civilised types have a primal capacity for violence. But, 40 years on, the shock factor has gone.

November 15, 2011 Full Review Source: Uncut Magazine [UK] | Comment (1)
Uncut Magazine [UK]

This is one of those remakes that feels like the product of lazy thinking.

November 9, 2011 Full Review Source: Radio Times
Radio Times

Peckinpah's most problematic film gets an intriguing, if flawed, update from film critic-turned-director Rod Lurie.

November 6, 2011 Full Review Source: Scotsman

Ultimately Lurie's film isn't in the same class as Peckinpah's flawed classic, but it's a respectable, respectful and rather good film.

November 6, 2011 Full Review Source: Observer [UK]
Observer [UK]

Still not for the fainthearted, the new Straw Dogs again has something to say about the kind of mob rule seen 80 years ago in Frankenstein (1931). And much of it is not at all pleasant.

November 4, 2011 Full Review Source: Birmingham Mail
Birmingham Mail

Rod Lurie's remake transposes the action from cloudy Cornwall to sticky Mississippi but keeps the meat of the story intact, along with the violence.

November 4, 2011 Full Review Source: Total Film
Total Film

While there's no real reason for this retread of Sam Peckinpah's controversial 1971 film, even Hollywood can't destroy such a decent story.

November 3, 2011 Full Review Source: Daily Mirror [UK]
Daily Mirror [UK]

Lurie's film has nothing in its head beyond the desire to make money.

November 3, 2011 Full Review Source: Daily Mail [UK]
Daily Mail [UK]

It isn't badly made, but what's the point of rebooting Straw Dogs, if the only object is to repackage it, and make it marginally less offensive?

November 3, 2011 Full Review Source: Guardian [UK] | Comment (1)
Guardian [UK]

Rod Lurie has adapted with intelligence...

November 3, 2011 Full Review Source: Daily Telegraph
Daily Telegraph

Audience Reviews for Straw Dogs

Going to keep an eye on this remake.....As with I spit on your grave remake which in my opinion was'nt a bad film,I just what to see how this pann out....The original Sam Peckinpah movie was a slow burner that built its tension up to the climax ending. I like the use of the location then used in the original being somewhere in the UK and having an American being a stranger in a strange land.
Time will tell and how and if they are going to try and a temp to recreate the famous rape sense?
March 29, 2013
briandeguelle

Super Reviewer

When I heard that they were remaking Straw Dogs, the 1971 psycho thriller directed by Sam Peckinpah and starring Dustin Hoffman, I was intrigued, especially when I discovered that they were setting the film in the Deep South. Yeah, rednecks on the warpath - something I had considered when I viewed the original in high school - it makes so much sense placing all the good old boy small town mentalities and redneck ways in the deep south instead of England (at least it appeared so to me at the time).

Now, much has been said about the extreme visual violence displayed on screen in 1971 (they just didn't DO THAT back then), and it has been theorized that Peckinpah was making a statement (to the effect that the film was a contemplation on violence and that every human has a breaking point where he is forced to revert to more primal instincts in order to protect what is his). I didn't buy all that sophist stuff then, and I'm not buying it now. Yes, this is a violent film, and yes, the stereotypes are all on display - macho "real man" versus a more "sophisticated" man of words... and yet, while superficially entertaining, the entire enterprise has a "been there, seen that" feel to it (more than what should be justified by seeing the source film, or reading the quite excellent book that was the fountainhead for both.

Cliché piles atop cliché, and director Rod Lurie seems unable to stop this runaway train - it's almost as if his choice of staging the film in Mississippi is too perfect - you don't even raise an eyebrow when the drunken good old boys get all riled up and decide to lay siege to the "city boy" and his domicile. You can almost hear banjos in the background (at least Lurie showed some restraint in that regard).

And yet, the cinematography and acting on display are so much better than you'd expect from a potboiler "thriller" of the "don't go into the backwoods" kind of film. James Wood in particular as the drunken former high school football coach, is in fine form. He's mean, he's scary, he sneers at everything and tells off color racist jokes - everyone laughs with him, probably fearing that he'll break a bar stool over your head if you don't.

The rest of the hoodlums are forgettable, though Alexander Skarsgard shows a bit of depth as the former quarterback who manages to maintain some creds as a big fish in a very small pond. He is the stuff that the title refers to: a Chinese tradition where they anoint these straw dogs in some ceremony and then, after said ceremony, they throw them away. Skarsgard knows he is trapped in nowhereville - to leave would be to become a minnow in that great big ocean out there - better to be a bottom feeding catfish trolling the murky waters at your own pace and reveling in what used to be. To me, this psychological aspect carries more weight than the Lord of The Flies, man resorts to his base nature babble. Sure, said babble is part and parcel of the violence - but I don't feel that, in this instance, the film warrants that kind of analysis... just let it be a bit of mild entertainment that has a very violent streak. I mean, the purported "depth" is there (and heavyhanded) if you want to examine it; the LA screen writer (ably played by James Marsden), is writing a WWII screenplay about the battle for Stalingrad (reveling in the violence of a prior age as an inkling to his buttoned down psyche... ho hum). His home is threatened, his marriage is threatened - he is bullied and made fun of by the locals... he turns the other cheek, as a civilized man should... until it's kill or be killed time (all couched within a "stand for your morals" bit of overstatement). A great film would have you wondering "what would I do in the given situation?" While the unfairness and bullying of the situation did raise my blood pressure about two points, I never felt completely absorbed nor intellectually prodded by any of the human questions that Lurie was trying (I think) to mine.
March 18, 2013
maxthesax
paul sandberg

Super Reviewer

The original Straw Dogs was a masterwork of raw, gritty violence that relied on a great cast and effective directing and told a truly engrossing story. Of course Hollywood found it in their hearts to remake a defining cinematic classic with a subpar cast that simply don't deliver anything worthwhile on-screen. This reboot of Straw Dog is sloppy, lazy and above all boring and predictable. Replacing immaculate performances with overacting is not the way to go, and there are several scenes that don't work. The original was stellar and is a picture that should be seeked out by cinephiles; however this one fails due to the fact that it relies way too much on the original source material and the filmmakers simply recycle and update key scenes of the original. The result is a film that just isn't worth your time. If you've seen the original, then you can skip this one as it is nearly a frame by frame remake and aside from changing a few elements is the same movie. I hated the film, and it was totally unnecessary to remake it as the original was a wonderful dramatic psychological thriller that hit the right notes of making you feel uneasy without turning you off the film due to its content. That was due in part to the great cast who performed well in front of the camera and made something groundbreaking in the process. This version is just violent for the sake of being violent. There's nothing good here and it just a remake for the sake of making a quick buck. Pass this one up; you'll be glad you did. Watch the 1971 Straw Dogs instead as it a classic film, while this one is plainly forgettable.
March 1, 2013
TheDudeLebowski65
Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski

Super Reviewer

three stars
June 25, 2012
YodaMasterJedi
MisterYoda ?

Super Reviewer

    1. David Sumner: Just so you know, someone broke into our house and killed our cat.
    2. Chris: What makes you think that Flutie was killed? Didn't just die.
    3. David Sumner: Well, generally cats don't hang themselves.
    – Submitted by Alyssa B (25 days ago)
    1. David Sumner: Hey, Charlie, there is somethin' in the Bible I do believe.
    2. Charlie: What's that, sir.
    3. David Sumner: "Thou shall not covet thy neighbor's wife."
    4. Charlie: I believe in that, too. But what happens when thy neighbor's wife covets you?
    – Submitted by Alyssa B (42 days ago)
    1. Amy Sumner: There are five men with guns outside.
    – Submitted by Alyssa B (42 days ago)
    1. Charlie: Son of a bitch got some man in him after all. Alright, let's end this.
    – Submitted by Alyssa B (2 months ago)
    1. David Sumner: I'll bet that was your daddy's chair.
    2. Amy Sumner: Every chair was my daddy's chair.
    – Submitted by Alyssa B (2 months ago)
    1. Charlie: Oh, you want your glasses, go ahead and put them on, I want you to see what's comin', David.
    – Submitted by Alyssa B (9 months ago)
View all quotes (17)

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Foreign Titles

  • Straw Dogs - Wer Gewalt sät (DE)
  • Chiens de paille (FR)
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