Box art for Straw Dogs

Straw Dogs

drama, horror, thrillers

David and Amy Sumner (James Marsden and Kate Bosworth), a Hollywood screenwriter and his actress wife, return to her small hometown in the deep South to prepare the family home for sale after her father's death. Once there, tensions build

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
  • Audience Score

common sense

2 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
3 out of 5
4 out of 5
Positive messages
0 out of 5
Positive role models
0 out of 5
3 out of 5
4 out of 5

Too much violence, not enough character in pointless remake.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that this grim remake of the powerful 1971 Sam Peckinpah movie (which starred Dustin Hoffman) has very strong violence, including many gruesome murders, a brutal rape scene, and dead animals. While the original used its edgy content to explore character, the remake is much less subtle, which makes the violence seem intended to be thrilling rather than thought provoking. There aren't any positive messages or role models here; the main character is a passive, ineffectual man whose only way to regain his "manhood" is to defend himself and his wife through violence. There's also frequent strong language ("f--k," "s--t," "p---y," etc.), sexual situations (though no nudity), and lots of drinking (always Budweiser), including one character who's shown to have a drinking problem.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about the movie's violence. What is its purpose? Do you think it's necessary to the story? How does it compare to what you see in horror movies?
  • How does the movie address the idea of "manhood"? Is it a relevant concept? Does a guy have to act strong or do violent things to be considered a "man"?
  • Are there any good people in this movie?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

  • Tomatometer®

    reviews counted: 1
    see all Straw Dogs reviews
  • Audience


Top Critic Reviews

Rotten: Most details are in place, but the technique and inspiration are missing.

- Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune, Thursday, September 15, 2011

Audience Reviews

3 stars

Charlie: That boys got some man in him after all, alright lets end this. "Everyone Has a Breaking Point." Straw Dogs did a few things for me. It rein-stilled the fact that living in the deep South would fucking suck. I'm not just talking about the crazy rednecks, but everything about their Republican culture sucks. More importantly though, the movie got its point across loud and clear. It doesn't matter how peaceful you are, if your or your loved ones lives aren't threatened, you will become an animal. You will turn into a killing machine. A screenwriter and his small time actress wife move to the deep South where Amy grew up. There is a big clash of culture between David and the hicks. They make fun of him behind his back because he actually has an education and doesn't follow their core beliefs, which are Guns, Beer, Guns, More Beer, and finally Guns. His wife had a thing with one of the men who are fixing up their roof, back in high school and he isn't quite over that yet. The film builds its tension well throughout, but still it could have done things a little better. Nothing in the movie standouts, but as a whole it is good. The acting is nothing remarkable, but everyone involved plays their characters well enough. Kate Bosworth isn't an amazing actress, but I thought she did a pretty good job as Amy, and her jogging scenes were just great. James Marsden is also not one of my favorites, but he does a terrific job developing his character as a pacifist, which is vital to the ending working at all.The film is essentially an hour and twenty minutes of buildup to a final twenty-five minutes or so of just brutal violence. Straw Dogs is a remake of a 1971 film that starred Dustin Hoffman, which I need to check out sometime in the near future. Seeing as I haven't seen the original, I can't compare the two and when I finally do see it, I may end up bringing my rating for this down. As of now though, I thought Straw Dogs was a well done, intelligent thriller.

- blkbomb, Sunday, December 25, 2011

1 star

Straw Dogs is one of the most unlikeable and stupid films I have ever seen, but even I will admit I got a few guilty smiles at the ending of the movie. A Hollywood screenwriter and his wife come under attack from her ex-flame and his vicious friends in director Rod Lurie's remake of Sam Peckinpah's 1971 home-invasion classic. In the wake of her father's death, Amy (Kate Bosworth) returns to her rural Southern hometown with her husband, David (James Marsden). Her goal is to put her childhood home on the market while David works on his latest screenplay. Meanwhile, David hires Amy's high school boyfriend Charlie (Alexander Skarsg) and his crew to rebuild the roof on the secluded country home. But the more time Charlie's work crew spends working on the roof, the greater tensions begin to grow between Amy and David. Every time Amy walks outside, the work stops and the ogling begins. When David attempts to avert confrontation by firing the crew before the job is finished, former high school football star Charlie snaps, deciding that if he can't have Amy on his own terms, he'll take her by force. Later, when night falls, Charlie's gang besieges the house, forcing David and Amy into a desperate fight for their lives. the storyline in this film is so idiotic and pointless that it hurts, it doesn't even know what it is really, its just trying to be a remake of an old classic, and it fails miserably, because this is one of the most unlikeable stories I have ever had to endure at the the theater, and if the col last 20 minutes could not save this film from being a disaster. The acting was not bad, on the contrary this was pretty good acting, James Marsden is a very underrated actor and Kate Bosworth did well too, but these characters the writers have made them play are some of the meanest, dumbest, and just plain bad characters in film history, even the protagonists were jerks to most of the people around them and to themselves, how am I supposed to pity a bunch of jerks, and so I really hated these charcaters the writers have made. Straw Dogs tries so hard to be a good thriller that ultimately it completely failed and I lost interest after like a half hour, and I am only giving it 1.5 stars because the ending of the film was a good payoff and I was grinning at some of the cool death scenes, but even though it had a good ending, it was not enough from making Straw Dogs one of the worst films of 2011.

- DreamExtractor, Tuesday, December 13, 2011

2 stars

There's a lot of clashing going on here: southern culture vs. northern culture, college educated vs. not, classical music vs. southern fried rock, religious vs. not, and even more evvvveeeen, but this near note for note remake of Peckinpah's scorching original added a little something something that - for some - will make it better. and for others (like me) totally vice versa. I leave it to the individual to decide ...

- UniversalDreamer, Friday, September 30, 2011