When a screenwriter from Los Angeles returns to his wife’s hometown in Mississippi to get away from it all and start writing again, things take a twisted turn when locals make his life a living nightmare.

If you turn to the opinion section you’ll see my little rant about Hollywood remakes lately. My question being, what’s the point? Sam Peckinpah’s 1971 “Straw Dogs” was an intense film about what happens when a man finally reaches his breaking point. The new remake follows suit, but like most remakes, it breaks no new ground. It’s not a terrible film, though.

The biggest obstacle facing the movie is the fact that the original exists and thus invites comparisons. THe leap from Dustin Hoffman to James Marsden is probably the biggest comparison I found myself making. How many times have we seen Dustin Hoffman kick ass on film? I’m kind of drawing a blank. James Marsden, though, I mean the dude played Cyclops. Much of what made the first one so impactful was watching an everyman snap. Seeing someone who’s shot lasers out of his eyes do it just made me nod my head in approval.

Alexander Skarsgard of “True Blood” fame turns in the same cool-demeanor performance which has won him over a legion of frenzied female fans. Though I don’t think he’ll have any women swooning over him here, unless of course they’re rocking out to Skynyrd with a Budweiser in a NASCAR beer coozi. Even then though, his character is quite vile but never feels like the monster he’s supposed to be.

What sells this movie is the fact that it’s still really good, just not on par with the original. The siege near the end, which is undoubtedly what everyone is going to be waiting for, delivers in folds. It’s 2011 so of course the violence has been upped a little, but at the same time it feels like it’s lacking the punch that would’ve been felt in 1971. Maybe I’m just numb from “Saw” and all the other ultra-violent thrillers out there.

I’d definitely say this is worth a trip to the theater if you haven’t seen the original. If you have though, you’ll be like me, nitpicking the little details that separate the classics from the simple genre films.