Straw Dogs

Rated 3.0

Bookish screenwriter David Sumner (James Marsden) moves with his wife Amy (Kate Bosworth) to her rural hometown, where the local good ol’ boys leer at her and sneer at him, leading to a violent confrontation when the couple shelter a local man from a gang of vigilante drunks. Writer-director Rod Lurie remakes Sam Peckinpah’s 1971 sex-and-violence fantasy almost scene for scene (including Peckinpah’s they-all-wanna-be-raped misogyny). Lurie changes the location from Cornwall to Mississippi, tapping into Hollywood’s fear and loathing of redneck flyover country (changing the hero from a mathematician to a screenwriter is the tipoff). One of the local brutes even asks if Sumner wrote “any of them Saw movies” before the movie itself turns into one—albeit one where the dead and mangled mostly have it coming.