If someone asked me to remake Straw Dogs I wouldn’t. You know when people say a remake is ‘unnecessary?’ Well, this one truly is, and it’s not because the original can’t be topped. It’s because the frisson of the basic concept is not so frissony anymore; Peckinpah’s original in many ways set up a whole home invasion genre. There’s no shock left in seeing the dweeb rise up in violence against his attackers.
In fact, if I was tasked with remaking Straw Dogs what I would do would be to swap the gender roles. I would have the husband get raped and I would have the wife find her violent side. I don’t think that would be particularly ‘new,’ either, but it wouldn’t feel like a movie we’ve seen forty times in the last forty years.
And Rod Lurie’s Straw Dogs remake, if the trailer is any indication, looks exactly like a zillion other generic hicksploitation home invasion movies we’ve seen over the years. And the casting of James Marsden, a dude who has played a fucking SUPERHERO, really misses the entire point of casting Dustin Hoffman in the original. There should be a Jesse Eisenberg type in that part, not the guy who played PRINCE CHARMING in Enchanted.
Anyway, here’s the trailer. The film will be released in September. Once upon a time I had a long talk with Lurie about the remake, and I’m still not sure what the point of redoing the material is, especially redoing it as schlock.