Funny Games (1997)
I'd already seen the English 2007 version, so there were no surprises in this scene-for-scene-by-the-same-director. But it was more horrible knowing what was going to happen.
This is a perfect horror film, in that it is drenched in the horrible. Throughout this film my shoulders are tight, my stomach muscles clenched, my eyes narrowed as if dimming the light would reduce the gut-wrenching evil. I've had films that scared me more, but few that offends me to this degree. Not "offends" as if I hate the film, but "offends" my sensibilities, my idea of what is right in the world.
As usual, Haneke is using a horrible situation to poke holes in the middle class. Yes, the two young men are the aggressors, but as they point out multiple times, they aren't the first ones to be aggressive, to overreact. But the real point seems to be to point out that our lordship, our cloak of authority is only as powerful as the person we are opposing. There is a social contract of personal property and authority, in which police officers and city zoning are supports of that structure. So the middle class acts as if they have all power on their space, but what if someone determines not to act in accordance with that unwritten contract, to counteract it? Something as simple as a golf club and a dropped phone can displace the thin nail on which our security hangs. And our confidence unravels.
Of course, there is the playing with the audience, the recognition that the movie must lengthen the stay of the horrible until it has gone the appropriate length, where the antagonists pulls us into blame for this terror as much as they do the victims. In the end, objectively, we are all participants in this play, partners in this staged murder. I, moreso, since I am watching it again.