Director Michael Haneke uses Funny Games to toy with his audience—and that can make the "mockingly sadistic and terrifying watch-the-middle-class-writhe-like-stuck-pigs thriller" tough viewing, Owen Leiberman writes in Entertainment Weekly. Critics are split on the merits of Haneke's remake of his disturbing 1997 German-language original—about a vacationing family terrorized by two men—but few could look away.
Haneke "rigs the movie into a weapon against its audience," Jim Ridley writes in the Dallas Observer, "trying to kill our pleasure in the very thing we theoretically paid to see." The "grueling ethics exam of a movie" may not pass muster as entertainment, Dana Stevens writes in Slate. But though she resents Haneke's "facile polemics," she still respects "the way that he nailed me, trembling, to my seat."