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Straw Dogs starring James Marsden, Kate Bosworth, Alexander Skarsgard & James Woods


Straw Dogs starring James Marsden, Kate Bosworth, Alexander Skarsgård & James Woods. Image viaa

Straw Dogs- Plot Summary

  • The review part has spoilers. For the unspoiled version, please read the preview.

Actress Amy (Kate Bosworth) and her screenwriter husband David Summer (James Marsden) go to her hometown so that he can have a writer’s retreat. It’s a beautiful lake house, and things are supposed to be just productive and romantic.

Unfortunately their peace is short-lived as their roof needs repair and David unknowingly hires Amy’s ex, the former football-star Charlie (Alexander Skarsgård) and his crew. To call them bullying, ignorant and intolerant and hypocritical rednecks would be an understatement. They are quick to hate David for being rich(er), being married to the town hottie, for being a city boy…

To make matters worse, Charlie he is also still obsessed with Amy, and the rest of of the town folk aren’t any smarter or more open-minded and Amy is acting like she is still in Los Angeles…


That’s right. This is your plot. Now, I didn’t see the original Dustin Hoffman version, and I only had the trailer and the plot summary to make my guesses about the film. It seemed like it’d be a decent thriller, and I really like James Marsden. And while it ended up disturbing and thrilling enough, it was disappointing to have two of the stupidest female characters in the history of movies.

Let’s see:

Ideally, Amy wouldn’t have come back without telling her husband what the men can really be like. Ideally, she would have never come back.

So she absolutely had to go? She would have to hire a few men like John Reese (see Person of Interest). Do you think I’m being paranoid? I don’t care how trusting people are in that town- it is a remote house where the cell phones don’t get reception. Non-paranoid people shouldn’t be allowed to live there.

Amy walks around half-naked around perverted and horny men. And when her husband suggests that she could wear a bit more, she flashes to these men. Men who would have been tempted enough if she was wearing sweatpants and the ugliest, baggiest jumper the universe had to offer.

She provokes the men in more ways than one. No, I’m not saying she would have been safe had she been smarter. But as a viewer, her stupidity and provoking really pisses you off. And it is funny how she switched from “We don’t lock our doors around here” to “They killed our cat, let’s sleep with a gun!”

They should have left when the cat was killed.

Yes, of course the husband shouldn’t have ever, ever left her alone in the house. But he certainly didn’t see that they were psychopaths.

As for Janice (Willa Holland), she was even stupider than Amy. She repeatedly went after, tried to seduce and flirted with the town’s big man/little brain Jeremy (Dominic Purcell). Yes, she knew his father (James Woods) would kill the guy if he was ever seen with her. She knew there was an incident where another girl was hurt.  And the funniest thing? She got killed by him- not because he was trying to hurt her, but because he got so scared when he was trying to hide from her father. And her disappearance is what finally caused the ultimate battle between the Summers and the rednecks.

Oh, never mind the Sheriff who tries to calm a group of rednecks – where one guy is a well-built 6’4”, and the other one is a crazy, alcoholic father- by himself. Right. That is of course smart. I don’t care how safe they claim their town to be. Guns+ alcohol+ hot blooded men don’t equal safe, and it is not a one-man job!


So yes- the characters act like they have read a book called “How to Be Extremely Stupid”  and lived by it. Yes, the villains were disgusting, and had nothing to redeem them. The victims set a new low for being idiots.


The hypocrisy? Oh yes. According to our villain Charlie, it is rude and not nice to walk out on a sermon- but it is completely OK to rape his ex, and then watch while another friend rapes her too.


But I don’t rate movies on the intelligence of characters alone.  The movie was nicely-shot, the actors did a good job, and I love a good old fighting-back sequence when the “victim” finally gets rid of the villains one by one.

Rated at 5.6 on IMDB, Straw Dogs is underrated. But I won’t give it a 7 when the victims make the villains’ jobs so much easier. 6.5 from me.  It could have been a bit shorter, and could have repeated some stuff a lot less.

Other James Marsden Movies & Articles

The Box starring James Marsden, Cameron Diaz & Frank Langella

Stardust, The Air I Breathe, Playing by Heart, The Good Shepherd, Hairspray & He’s Just Not That Into You: 6 Good Movies with Brilliant Casts (Hairspray features James Marsden

Enchanted starring Amy Adams, Patrick Dempsey & James Marsden

Movie Reviews of 4 Nicholas Sparks Adaptations: A Walk to Remember, Nights in Rodanthe, Message in a Bottle and The Notebook (The Notebook co-stars James Marsden)

Gossip starring James Marsden, Lena Headey, Norman Reedus, Kate Hudson & Joshua Jackson

The 24th Day starring James Marsden and Scott Speedman



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