Straw Dogs

Directed By: Rod Lurie

Starring: James Marsden, Kate Bosworth, Alexander Skarsgård, and James Woods

Remakes are a dime a dozen these days in Hollywood.  Very few live up to the originals.  More often than not, you'll see movies like Poseidon, The Day the Earth Stood Still, and Clash of the Titans as opposed to True Grit, Ocean's Eleven, and The Departed.  Unfortunately, Rod Lurie's remake of Straw Dogs falls in the former category, and you'll need to pre-game for this one.

After her dad's passing, Amy Sumner (Kate Bosworth) and her screenwriter husband David (James Marsden) return to her hometown in the Deep South to restore her childhood home.  David hires Amy's former lover Charlie (Alexander Skarsgård) and his crew to repair the roof of their home.  Unfortunately, Charlie wants to relive old times with Amy and does everything but kill David to do so.  Meanwhile, local high school football coach Tom Heddon (James Woods) is trying to keep his teenage daughter Janice (Willa Holland) away from the local retard and sex offender Jeremy Niles (Dominic Purcell).  When Janice goes missing after last being seen with Jeremy, all hell breaks loose in this small southern town.

Rod Lurie should have left the original Straw Dogs alone because frankly this movie sucks.  The film offers nothing new or inventive.  You could honestly narrate the film word for word without even having seen it.  Lurie couples this poor writing with poor filmmaking.  He builds a world of clichés about rural Southerners and urbanites but does nothing refreshing with these clichés to make it worth your time.  Given the talent that's in this film, this is truly disappointing.

The actors won't enamor you with their performances either.  Specifically, Kate Bosworth's character Amy is annoying as hell.  I understand that she does not want to be back in her hometown and has issues with Charlie, but she's addressing her issues in all the wrong ways.   The scene where she's jogging, while Charlie and his boys driving after her making cat calls is inappropriate, but she should have been wearing a bra.  There's no need for Amy to get mad at David when he calls her out on this.  If you want to give a public striptease, don't be surprised if guys are chasing after you with dollar bills.

James Woods is the only actor in the movie who looks like he's having a good time.  Admittedly, he had a few Budweisers topped off with some good old Jack Daniels early on in the film, so he had a little liquid inspiration.  To get through this movie, you'll need a little of what James Woods was having.  Straw Dogs gets a 0.09% rating.