There are remakes and then there’s Funny Games. Director Michael Haneke delivers a shot by shot, scene by scene carbon copy of his 1997 original for the American audience. Thankfully, unlike most recent horror remakes, Funny Games retains every ounce of foreign “charm” that made the original one of the most twisted and bizarre gems of its time.

The plot, which involves a pair of overtly courteous, golf-shorts wearing teens invading and torturing a family, comes to fruition in a predictable yet extremely unorthodox fashion. Since this film is essentially 100 percent European, it strays from the American in-your-face mentality that most recent “torture” movies have exploited and instead utilizes skillful tact in creating unbearable tension and suspense.

The result is utterly disturbing to say the least. While there are some pacing issues in the third act, this thankfully doesn’t detract from the tone of the movie, which is aware of its genre and style. Haneke succeeds in creating a satire of cinematic violence, being self-referential enough to be one step ahead of the audience and, interestingly enough, never falling victim to the trap of gore and excessive violence himself.

Funny Games is sure to disturb moviegoers in a way that American graphic, gore-laden epics simply cannot. It’s the horror movie to top in 2008.

Grade: A-

Funny Games is currently in select theaters.