Thursday, November 17, 2011

Straw Dogs (1971)

I'll admit it.  1970s is about as far as I go back in terms of "classic" horror.  I don't like black and white movies and really only a few late-70s classics do it for me.  I'll also admit that I've never heard of Straw Dogs until the remake came out.  And still, every time I think about it, this song gets stuck in my head.

I had a little bit of a wait on Netflix for this, but it arrived today.  It's sort of funny to think of Dustin Hoffman as young, since my generation really first knew him from Rainman.  I don't know if he's supposed to be sexually alluring at any point in this movie, but I am not feeling it.  His wife, Amy (Susan George) on the other hand is all kind of 70s hottie.  Sort of Sharon Tate-ish,  And OMG side note -- their little cat looks exactly like my younger one!  YAY torties :) /endcrazycatlady

So David Sumner (Hoffman) is pretty much a huge douche and terrible husband throughout this entire movie.  He ignores his wife, blows it off when creepy townies gawk at her and is just generally an asshole.  The day comes when said assholes arrive when David is not home.  And here, of course, comes the most controversial part of this movie.  There's quite a strange rape scene, where Amy actually appears to enjoy the sex at some point.  Feminism aside, it is quite oddly portrayed.

She's raped again, by a different man, and quite clearly does not enjoy this experience.  She doesn't inform David about the rapes, and they proceed to the church social the next day as planned.  But when David and Amy get involved in a little accident involving the town idiot/pedophile, they get themselves into a little hot water with the locals.  They show up to break the couple's door down, and they are left to defend their the death. (a little overdramatic?  Sorry.)

Unfortunately, I think over the years, our attention spans have waned, and this movie moves a little slow and blahhh for me.  Overall it's a good story, but it's also a lot of watching for not a whole lot of action.  I did love the flashbacks mingling with Amy's thoughts post-attack, but also just did not find the townspeople to be that scary or intimidating.  The standoff scene, while likely edgy for the time, sort of just plodded along in my opinion, except for a few cool moments in the end.  My verdict?  Solid story and classic movie, but maybe doesn't hold up as well as 70s revenge flicks like I Spit on Your Grave and The Last House on the Left.


Mr. Xploit, Esquire said...

I agree that it doesn't hold up well. It's not deep enough or believable when compared to other more compelling revenge movies like Last House.