Polychrome Interest

A Random Blog of Everything I like

Funny Games (1997) – One Creepy and Sick Movie

First of all, Happy 3rd Blogoversary to Inspired Ground 🙂 Thank you so much for taking me along for the celebration, if not for Andina (the owner of Inspired Ground) I would never have discovered this amazing movie. Andina treated us with movie at PIX Viewing Room (a room for hire simply to watch movies)

Funny_Games1997We picked the movie randomly because it looked interesting. The first movie we watched together was The Third Man (1949) but the DVD got stuck almost at the end, they (PIX) gave us another chance to see a movie for free. We picked Funny Games. Andina has reviewed it before me> here.

Watching Funny Games made me realize that you don’t need excessive scary music, blood splattered everywhere and gruesome act of torturing to make a good suspenseful movie.

Funny Games was directed by Michael Haneke, it is about two sick young men holding a family hostage and torturing them in the simplest and yet meanest way. It’s a case of family holiday turns hellish.

Georg (Ulrich Mühe), his wife Anna (Sussane Lothar), their son Georgie (Stefan Clapczynski) and their dog arrived at their lake house. Before they reached their house, they shouted at their neighbor asking for help with their boat. I can straight away see that the neighbor looked a bit odd. Before they began unpacking, their neighbor, Fred came with a young man named Paul (Arno Frisch). Paul was dressed in an unusual way, we wore short but he also wore a pair of white gloves.

Meanwhile, in the kitchen Anna was preparing meal for her family. Out of nowhere came Peter (Frank Giering), he wanted to borrow some eggs. He told Anna that he lived with their neighbor. This was when all the weird things began! Peter dropped the eggs and asked for more. He also accidentally dropped Anna’s mobile phone to the sink. Anna became more annoyed when Paul came to aid Peter.

Anna’s annoyance finally reached its boiling point and told her husband to get rid of those two young men. What happened next was a series of sick mind games. Paul hit Goerg’s leg and made him crippled. He gathered the whole family in their living room and they began to torture the poor family both mind and physically.


What’s so interesting about Funny games is the way Haneke creates the atmosphere. The absent of background music makes this psychological thriller feels closer to reality. Even though there is no real violence in the movie but it scares the living sh*t out of me. The whole movie is really annoying and yet very addictive. It forces us to look at the screen unblinking.

I would like to give 4 thumbs up (including my foot thumb) to Arno Frisch. His acting as Paul is brilliant. All he does through the movie is talking nicely to the family…nice but deathly. His words are like poison coated with charming smile. The way he casually talks to the family as if killing human being is no different to killing vermin is really scary. Throughout the movie I couldn’t stop saying my God this man is really annoying!  His innocent look is much scarier than all the full of hatred psycho I have ever seen. Frank Giering isn’t bad but Frisch totally outshines him.

AnnaThe other cast I admired is Sussane Lothar as Anna. She is scared but she tries her best to look tough…tough in despair. Look at the image on the right! See how Naomi Watts (from the 2007 remake) looks overreact with the pathetic crying face while Lothar looks tough. The way she changes from cheerful housewife ready to have a nice vacation to an annoyed woman and then to a woman in despair without showing her weak emotion is brilliant.

And then there’s the script! Oh how I wish I can read the script. When I was watching it, I couldn’t stop thinking I wish I had written that dialogue. Such brilliant dialogue!!

Funny Games also crosses the boundary of reality and imagination. Paul, and only Paul, often interacts with the audience like smirking or and talk to us. I think it’s a great addition to the movie, however one particular part of this interchange made me unable to give the movie full rating. If that scene (if you have watched it, I am sure you know which scene) is deleted, I think it would make Funny Games a perfect psychological thriller.

Funny thing is, Haneke states that the entire film was not intended to be a horror film. He says he wanted to make a message about violence in the media by making an incredibly violent, but otherwise pointless movie. He had written a short essay revealing how he felt on the issue, called “Violence + Media.” …funny because I think the movie is one of the most violence movie I have ever seen even though physical torture is rarely seen.

If you haven’t watched it…Do watch it 😉


Movie Detail:

Director: Michael Haneke
Producer: Veit Heiduschka
Writer: Michael Haneke
Starring: Susanne Lothar, Ulrich Mühe, Arno Frisc, Frank Giering, Stefan Clapczynski
Release date: 14 May 1997
Rating: 4,5 stars

This is my 6th movie for World Cinema Series hosted by Caroline @ Beauty Is A Sleeping Cat. I traveled to Austria now 🙂


About Novroz

I actively maintained 2 blogs. My personal blog is about things that I love: Turtles, Books, Movies, Music, Larc en Ciel, Muse, Cillian Murphy, The Mighty Boosh and many more. I also help my 3 super cute turtles, Kroten, Papoe and Kurome, to maintain their own blog: http://kamekroten.wordpress.com

33 comments on “Funny Games (1997) – One Creepy and Sick Movie

  1. felis catus
    April 15, 2013

    oh, I remember this movie very well. I stopped watching it after 15 minutes and asked my husband to watch it by himself. Haneke loves torturing his audience, doesn’t he? Btw, I think we read the same essay on Funny Games. I get impression that Haneke wants us to contemplate whether a film that contains only pointless violence is fit for entertainment. Somehow I can see he’s sneering at us while muttering only sick people can enjoy violence as entertaintment.

    Anyway, if someone that I don’t know asking me whether he can borrow some eggs, I will slam the door in front of his face.

    • Novroz
      April 16, 2013

      Huahaha and that conclusion makes me a sick person 😉
      If written nicele I will go for violence movie than any romance. I just think a story of two people trying to be a lover is not as interesting as a serial killer trying to kill his victim 😉

      I assume you dont like thriller as you left after 15 minutes 😉 this movie has amazing script, IMO.

      I agree with you about the slamming door…or at least put your mobile away from the sink 😉

      • felis catus
        April 16, 2013

        I like thriller, but I can’t stand violence. For me, depicting violence in movie (or any media) only can be justified if it leads to deeper understanding of pressing problem.

        • Novroz
          April 17, 2013

          I really don’t mind with violence…but as I said before, it is has meaning to a good story. Take example of The House of Wax, the violence in that movie is totally meaningless hence I don’t like the movie. But the violence in 13 assassins is understandable.

  2. ruth
    April 15, 2013

    I saw a picture of you w/ Andina on her blog, awesome! I wish I could join you gals.

    This sounds very creepy indeed, Nov, I don’t think it’s my cup of tea. Btw, sorry I didn’t get a chance to ask Paul Laverty about Cillian in The Wind that Shakes the Barley, but if you’re interested, the interview post is up now.

    • Novroz
      April 16, 2013

      If you did join us, I wonder will you like the movie because it doesn’t sound like your cup of tea 😉

      I have read it…he seems like a very nice guy

  3. Haha I love that you put the last image like that 😀 Thank you for the wishes. Haneke is brilliant! Chris (movies & songs 365) told me that this movie is about viewers and violence in media, how the viewers oddly love to get the thrill and horror. Well it’s nice to watch this movie together, otherwise not the same when watched alone 🙂

    • Novroz
      April 16, 2013

      Hehe his winking picture adds the thrill in my review 😉

      Agree!!! I want to see his other movies now, curious how he can built the tension again.

      Yeah…people are odd, why do they enjoy violence in movie *shaking my head*….oh wait, I am one of those people hahaha. I don’t know whether other people are like me or not, I can stomach all the violence in movie but I hate seeing REAL violence in TV.

      Thank you for inviting me Andina…lets do it again 🙂

  4. Chris
    April 15, 2013

    Good review! I agree Funny Games shows you don’t need blood and violence to make a scary movie. I thought it was more interesting to think about than Michael Haneke’s recent film Amour (2012)

    • Novroz
      April 16, 2013

      Thank you Chris 🙂
      There are too much violence in movie nowadays that do not fill up the tension at all. I don’t mind violence as long as it is done for the sake of good story, not mainly to entertain people.

      I am a bit curious about amour and might see it later, but I have prepared to accept that it might not be as good as Funny Games.

      Thank you for stopping by Chris 🙂

      • felis catus
        April 16, 2013

        Nov, if you like thriller and like to see another Haneke, try Time of the Wolf or Hidden. Btw, Haneke is one of my favorite filmmaker because his movie always succeed in making me think and felt upset.

        • Novroz
          April 17, 2013

          Hope I can find it 🙂
          This is my first Haneke and I like what I see, so I will look for more. Your recommendation is much appreciated.

  5. Fariz
    April 16, 2013

    Aaah I really want to watch this film! I’m more familiar with the Hollywood version, even though I haven’t watched it too :p Haneke also directed the remake, and it’s exactly the same (scene by scene), if I’m not mistaken. That’s why I don’t know what is the purpose of remaking the film hahaha

    • Novroz
      April 16, 2013

      I think the purpose is because, most American are too lazy to read subtitle (at least that’s what my American friends told me related to so many remakes there)

      I don’t know about the remake but if you do want to watch this…do watch the Austrian one, the actors are amazingly believeable.

  6. Fariz
    April 16, 2013

    Ah and btw where in Jakarta is PIX, Miss? Is it near Dharmawangsa? It says ‘Subtitles Group’ in the picture.

    • Novroz
      April 16, 2013

      If you are in Jakarta we should watch a movie together there…with Andina too 😉
      It’s near Sarinah/theatre Jakarta.

  7. Binky
    April 17, 2013

    I never saw that one, but I liked the Third Man!

    • Novroz
      April 17, 2013

      I highly recommend this movie, peter!
      I like The third man too but I like Funny games better…That’s why i review this one and will review third man in a collective review later.

  8. Alice Audrey
    April 17, 2013

    I’d have called the cops right after they hit the husband with the golf club. I’ve had way too much craziness in my life to put up with these kinds of mind games.

    • Novroz
      April 18, 2013

      She can’t call the police as one of them thrown the phone into the sink and it’s in 1997 where mostly one family has one phone…you know not like nowadays, everyone has mobile phone.
      The mind games of two psycho…I really hope I never meet such people my whole life

      • Alice Audrey
        April 23, 2013

        I’ve run into guys like that a number of times. Once guy tracked me through six moves and found me by reading a phone book from cover to cover.

        • Novroz
          April 23, 2013

          Wow! That’s really scary. What happened next? You called the police?

          I am glad I never met anyone like that. If I ever met someone like Paul here, I’d go crazy with fear.

          • Alice Audrey
            April 26, 2013

            I couldn’t very well call the police and tell them some guy who happens to be always loitering around on the street near my apartment building should be arrested for reading a phone book. By the time something bad enough to call in the police happened, it would be too late. So I very carefully gave him as little info as possible (He didn’t know which apartment, just the building and phone number) and was very, very careful to not set him off. The worst that happened is that he hit me with a ruler hard enough to leave a red line on my legs. In the end he found a more likely victim and dropped out of my life.

          • Novroz
            April 26, 2013

            What the? What’s wrong with that man?
            Glad nothing bad happened to you. I really wish I will never meet anyone like that my whole life.

            I love suspense in books and movies, not in real life.

          • Alice Audrey
            May 2, 2013

            At the time I was interested in people on the fringes of society. He was one of the more memorable, but only one. I learned to take people seriously when they said they were crazy.

  9. TBM
    April 18, 2013

    This sounds interesting, especially the violence isn’t so prevalent, except in the viewers mind.

    • Novroz
      April 19, 2013

      Very interesting and thrilling. More suspense movie should be made like this, I mean the atmosphere not the story

  10. Caroline
    April 22, 2013

    I absolutely need to watch this and have no idea why I haven’t already. Usually I’m pretty up-to-date with German stuff and this isn’t even new. Weird. Thanks for the contribution. It sounds diffeent and with great actors.

    • Novroz
      April 23, 2013

      Great actors? have you seen other movies by them? I would love to see another one by Frisch. He is really really good as Paul and I think I am a fan now.

      I wonder how you miss this movie as it was played in Cannes.
      I hope you do watch it one day, please review it. I am curious with what you think of it.

  11. Caroline
    April 24, 2013

    They are all well known in Germany , TV mostly, but so many German movies are never subtitled. I’m not surprised you didn’t know the actors.

    • Novroz
      April 25, 2013

      Ah.. too bad. They are really good, especially the two actor/actress I have mentioned above

  12. Pingback: World Cinema Series 2013 | Polychrome Interest

  13. Pingback: World Cinema Series 2013 – Wrap up and Winner Announcement | Beauty is a Sleeping Cat

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This entry was posted on April 15, 2013 by in Excessive Watcher.


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