This is a remake of the Sam Peckinpah movie with Dustin Hoffman that was viewed as a fascist sort of pornographic, violent, wet dream. And this one certainly has some of the same characteristics with a significantly better looking cast: James Marsden, Kate Bosworth. I mean it is incredibly violent, you can see it all coming, and my favorite thing is the southerners, all rednecks, are homicidal maniacs. James Wood is terrific in it, at his hostile best playing an over the top, retired, drunken football coach in a place where football is king. It is vaguely well directed but there is so much thrown at you. The whole reason I suppose the movie was made to begin with, and the whole reason the movie actually exists to begin with is the violence at the end, which is really gut churning; Perhaps cathartic, but gut churning, so, it is hard. It’s kind of a guilty pleasure because you find yourself rooting for the good guys even though you know it’s going to be a blood bath, so you’re probably better off renting the original here. This cast is much better than the original, it’s equally bloody, but Sam Peckinpah at least made no apologies about doing violent orgiastic kind of movies. I’m not sure that you could say exactly the same thing about this director,Rob Lurie. I will say one thing, at least they finally explained what a straw dog was, which I don’t think they did in the original. A straw dog is out of Chinese literature and it is something that is a dog made from straw used as an offering to the gods in ancient rituals, treated with the utmost reverence only to be trampled on and tossed aside when no longer needed, and that is the metaphor for the football players. So the idea being that somehow these guys are violent and feeling disenfranchised because at one point they were heroes on the gridiron and now they are carelessly tossed aside. Do you care about the plot? James Marsden is a Hollywood writer, Kate Bosworth is a small town girl who has made good on a TV series; they go home to her family homestead so he can write. The roof needs repairing on the barn. They hire her old boyfriend to do the work (good move). She runs around in skimpy clothes. They make rude comments at her. The marriage gets stressed; do we care about any of this? Probably not. I guess we’ll give it two and a half stars.