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Straw Dogs

185 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

A young couple (James Marsden and Kate Bosworth) moves to a quaint southern town. Soon their perfect getaway turns out to become a living hell when dark secrets and lethal passions spiral out of control. Trapped by a pack of depraved locals led by a ruthless predator (Alexander Skarsgard, TV’s True Blood), they face a night of agonizing suffering and endless bloodshed. Now their only hope for survival is to become more savage than their merciless torturers. Also starring two-time Academy Award® Nominee James Woods (Best Actor, Salvador, 1986 and Best Supporting Actor, Ghosts of Mississippi, 1996).

Forty years after Sam Peckinpah's hugely controversial 1971 original, Rod Lurie adapted and directed a new version of Straw Dogs, with a very deliberate change of location and an updating of the social context. Instead of being set in Britain, the story now takes place in small-town Mississippi, where Hollywood screenwriter David Sumner (James Marsden) is moving with his wife Amy (Kate Bosworth). She grew up in Blackwater, which she aptly refers to as "backwater," but has since become a much-desired TV actress. In their isolated house, David will write while Amy's ex-beau (Alexander Skarsgård) repairs the adjacent barn with his redneck buddies. In drawing the unease between this effete, conflict-averse intellectual and the swaggering, flag-waving, God-fearing locals, Lurie (The Contender) seems to be aiming at the hostility between red state/blue state America in 2011. But the movie breaks down when it gets to the sadistic plot turns that lead to the savage finale, a siege in which David is pushed to his primal self. In the Peckinpah film, this was a hellish and ambiguous exorcism, but here the events just seem ugly, and the movie loses control of its perspective about halfway through. James Marsden is a game actor, but he can't be as convincing a bookworm as Dustin Hoffman was in the original film. Kate Bosworth's ambivalence is the most interesting thing at play here, as she suggests the marriage might have been less than perfect all along. That subtle discontent is more intriguing than the movie's lurid collapse into ultraviolence. --Robert Horton

Special Features

Commentary with Writer/Director Rod Lurie
Courting Controversy: Remaking a Classic
The Dynamics of Power: The Ensemble
Inside the Siege: The Ultimate Showdown
Creating the Sumner House: The Production Design

Product Details

  • Actors: James Marsden, Kate Bosworth, Alexander Skarsgard, Dominic Purcell, Laz Alonso
  • Directors: Rod Lurie
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English, French, Spanish, Thai
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish, Thai, Mandarin Chinese, Korean
  • Dubbed: French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures
  • DVD Release Date: December 20, 2011
  • Run Time: 110 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (185 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B005TK22R0
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #15,097 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Straw Dogs" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Ms.Starshine on October 27, 2011
Format: DVD
I debated seeing this at the theater because the original was so dark and the critics had been so tough on this remake. I was surprised by how good it was. Friends with me also enjoyed seeing this film. Solid thriller type of story with a couple better than average acting performances from James Woods, Alexander Skarsgard, Dom Purcell.
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48 of 62 people found the following review helpful By D. Doppes on November 2, 2011
Format: Blu-ray
James Marsden plays David Sumner, a screenwriter from California, who makes the move to Mississippi with his girlfriend Amy(Kate Bosworth). This is her hometown, but its all too foreign to David. The secluded property and beautiful background seem an ideal place for him to finish work on his Stalingrad project. It doesn't take long for this thought to diminish from his mind.

As much as David tries to mix with the locals and feel a part of the community, theres always something that doesn't work. Theres several times in the film where he goes out of his way to be courteous, but the locals don't seem to like an outsider in their town. A rich, clean cut outsider to be precise. This film builds an ominous tone very well through the course of the story. While the film feeds off the differences between David and the locals, it also shows David changing in his own way later in the film. Amy's(Bosworth) ex-boyfriend Charlie (Skarsgard)enters the picture early and often in the young couple's life. Skarsgard really does a nice job with his character. You never have a good feeling about Charlie from the first frame, when he starts in on Amy, as David gets a beer at the bar. The situation worsens when he is hired to repair the roof to David and Amy's home. That puts Charlie and his hunting/roofing buddies too close to the couples everyday life. James Woods is very good as well in portraying "coach" a beer drinking, raucous legend in the small town. It seems everyone in the town played for coach in the past and he has the respect of most. The coach has his own issues with his daughter and a mentally challenged man. This adds another level of brooding to the story. Another factor is the difference in ideals and beliefs between David and Amy.
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27 of 34 people found the following review helpful By zombie phreak on December 25, 2011
Format: Blu-ray
Okay so I know a lot of people are comparing this to the original version saying it's no good in comparison. I've never seen the original so this review is going to be specifically about this movie. I liked it.

Seriously I liked it. The characters are good, the motivation of each character is believable, and the situations are realistic enough that it could actually happen.

My only complaints about this movie are about the two female characters. The cheerleader girl and the wife of the main character.


The cheerleader flirts with the mentally retarded guy even though she knows it'll get him in trouble and he'll get the crap beaten outta him by her father and the other washed up football guys. It's like she gets off on seeing him get his ass kicked. Also it's kinda confusing as to if he kills her by accident when he puts his hands over her face to stop her from screaming. I know her feet stop moving, but is that cuz she passed out or because she died? It's just a minor point of confusion but still I'd like a little clarity.

Also the wife is just plain annoying. In one scene she tells her husband that the former football heroes were drooling over her outside and that it was making her uncomfortable and asked him to do something about it. Yet then she goes upstairs and flashes her breasts to the same people who were just making her feel so uncomfortable. You can't have your cake and eat it too, either you're not comfortable with them starring at you, or you are.

Then later they rape her and she yells at her husband calling him a coward and that he's not a real man.
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29 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Leo H. Stakemiller on May 5, 2012
Format: DVD
Rod Lurie's remake of Peckinpah's 1971 masterpiece Straw Dogs should be embarrassing for all involved, especially James Woods, who must need a paycheck bad. The 1971 original was greatly misunderstood by critics and viewers at the time of its release, with many projecting their own Procrusten Beds of ideology on the film. To compound and confound matters, Peckinpah himself tended to deal with various criticisms piecemeal while refusing to deliniate his own concept of the film. Thus, we have Lurie viewing Peckinpah through the lens of Robert Ardrey or Peckinpah answering feminist critics by declaring David Sumner the villain. Lurie's remake takes a great many of these criticisms and attempts a modern PC remake. The primitive Cornwall countryside is replaced by the Mississippi Gulf Coast, so Lurie is able to plug into the Southern stereotype, though he denies it in his commentary. Gone are the marital problems of the Sumners, David's fascination and provoking of the local violence, Amy's flaunting of her sexual freedom to the provincials she grew up with. Heck, in true PC fashion, even the violent locals who murder a black sheriff and attempt to kill the Sumners are themselves victims, as they are the straw dogs venerated for their high school sports prowess and then discarded upon graduation. Like a T-Ball game with no winners or losers, the remake has no good guys or bad guys, whereas the original had no totally good guy or woman, just real humans confronted by a situation partially of their own making which they must survive, even if their marriage relationship doesn't.Read more ›
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