'Straw Dogs': Is The New Movie Better Than The Original?
James Marsden, Kate Bosworth and Alexander Skarsgard star in Rod Lurie's Straw Dogs, in theaters Friday.
The film is a remake of director Sam Peckinpah's 1971 picture, originally starring Dustin Hoffman, British actress Susan George and Peter Vaughan.
So, what do the critics think of the redo? For the most part, the reviews say to stick with the original, pointing out that Lurie's take brings nothing new to the table.
The Hollywood Reporter's Todd McCarthy wasn't a fan, saying the new film "added nothing and subtracts nuance and ambiguity from what was one of the more controversial films of an already tumultuous period,"
The New York Times said "the new Straw Dogs is at times a faithful copy of the old one, reproducing a great many scenes, shots and passages of dialogue, and tweaking others ever so slightly. As a filmmaker, Mr. Lurie cannot hope to match Peckinpah's lyricism, but he strikes a decent balance of bluntness and subtlety."
The Associated Press wrote that the film was "essentially identical" to Peckinpah's version, though the review also says the new film "is undeniably suspenseful, thick with menace from the very beginning,"
The Boston Herald's James Verniere called the remake "an inferior breed" in his assessment's headline. "This new Straw Dogs ... is a second-rate remake of a memorable and controversial, if not quite great, Vietnam-era Sam Peckinpah film with Dustin Hoffman and British actress Susan George."
While Reuters opined, "If you’ve seen the original Straw Dogs, you probably expect the remake to be awful. Shockingly, it comes off as an adequate potboiler, building in intensity mostly by banal means, but it offers occasional inspired moments, such as Skarsgård’s performance and especially the climactic windup, which packs a punch similar to its predecessor," though adds, "Unfortunately, most of the new film’s strengths are inherited from the original, while its weaknesses stem from the changes."