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Straw Dogs (2011)

Straw Dogs is a 2011 thriller distributed by Screen Gems. It stars James Marsden as David Sumner, Kate Bosworth as Amy Sumner, Alexander Skarsgard as Charlie, James Woods as "Coach" Heddon, and Dominic Purcell as Jeremy. The story is written by David Zelag Goodman and Sam Peckinpah. The director is Rod Lurie.

David and Amy Sumner move to a small town in the deep south, where Amy grew up. David is working on a new script and seeks the tranquility of rural Mississippi. But tension is building between the new inhabitants and the locals as their differences quickly become an issue.

When I first heard about this film and the violence in it, I initially thought that it was a film glorifying senseless violence and revenge in the style of films such as I Spit on your Grave or Last House on the Left. After having viewed the film, I discovered while it did have some quite disturbing scenes, it was nothing like those aforementioned films. In fact, it was not entirely about rape and even less so about revenge. It's merely a story about an L.A. couple attempting to fit in to a small town in Mississippi, a culture very different from what they're used to. The locals aren't used to the couple's way of life either and things become heated. This is what makes Straw Dogs more of a thriller rather than a horror movie, as the previously mentioned films are clearly.

Perhaps the most clear evidence of the cultural differences is how the mentally handicapped man named Jeremy is treated after being seen with the local football coach's 15-year-old daughter. The coach constantly bullies Jeremy while the young couple Amy and David stand up and protect him, saying he doesn't know any better. This particular aspect is mainly what leads to violence against the newcomers.

To wrap, Straw Dogs is a great film with just enough tension and violence to keep viewers interested.

Kevin T. Dillehay has written more than 100 movie reviews from all genres. He provides a unique perspective on the movies you see all the time but may not stop and think about in depth. You are invited to check out his work at

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