The Strangers (2008)

July 30, 2009 - 12:00am | FrighT MasteR
  Tags: blood, Bryan Bertino, Gemma Ward, Glenn Howerton, Kip Weeks, Laura Margolis, Liv Tyler, masks, Scott Speedman, the strangers

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Bryan Bertino
Scott Speedman, Kip Weeks, Liv Tyler, Gemma Ward, Glenn Howerton, Laura Margolis

Filmmaker Bryan Bertino makes a strong directorial debut with The Strangers, the latest mainstream slasher to hit US cinemas. Bryan also wrote the script, which is supposedly "inspired by true events". Though I don't think anything has been officially revealed, many speculate that the "true events" the film refers to are the Charles Manson murders, more specifically the ones that took place at Keddie Resort. Either way, studios like to throw that phrase around, hoping to get the crowed that loves a good "true story." If you really think about it, pretty much any horror film that involves killing can use the same line and say it's based on some murder in real life.

The premise follows a young couple just getting back from a wedding reception. Awkwardness fills the car, as it's obvious that they just finished a big fight, making their trip home a quiet one. Once there, the silence between them continues, at least, until a strange woman starts banging the door at 4 A.M. asking for someone who obviously doesn't live there. It's not long before a couple more masked strangers enter the home and begin to terrorize the couple. The rest of the movie is just a fight for survival, with hopes of making it to the next day in one piece.

Although obviously set in present day, the movie gave off a gritty 70's vibe, and relied mostly on a lot of suspense and loud noises to keep the viewers shaking in their seats. Halloween did it best, but The Strangers offered a lot of great scenes where one of the villains would be watching from a distance with only their mask somewhat visible in the darkness. Being a survival flick with only two leads to root for, there's not a whole lot in terms of gore. Like I said before, this is more of a play on whom or what's out there, lurking in the shadows, as opposed to straight-out slicing and dicing kind of slasher.

Many have compared it to a recent genre effort from France entitled Them (Ils), being that it also followed a couple terrorized by a group of hooded individuals, with some minor differences. However, I personally felt the style of the movie itself seemed more similar to Vacancy, which was another gritty, fast-paced suspenseful slasher that I enjoyed. The movie ended a bit hasty and I have to admit I was a left a little unsatisfied. However, I'm pleased that we never actually see the stranger's faces' as it would have taken away from the mystery and creepiness behind them.

The Strangers is a unique film to come out of mainstream Hollywood recently, considering the cinemas are mostly flooded with remakes, while the DVD market is being heavily hit by needless sequels. It's good to see that there are movies out there still trying to keep old-school horror alive. Here's hoping for a sequel!

The film relies on a lot of suspenseful scenes, loud sounds, and the mystery behind the strangers to keep us watching. Offering a gritty 70's vibe and a few creepy villains, the movie is a solid addition to mainstream horror. Give this a check.

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FrighT MasteR's picture
FrighT MasteR is an avid horror fan / monster hunter extraordinaire, who created and has been running UHM since its inception, way back in 1999.




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