We tell ourselves there's nothing to fear - but sometimes, we're wrong
Running Time: 85 minutes
US Certificate: R UK Certificate: 15
Country: United States
Im a sucker for a good horror movie. If theres a zombie, killer, monster, or ghosty-type causing problems and scarin the townsfolk, count me in. As a fan of the genre, Ive seen a lot of creepy stuff, and as of late, most of the creepiest has been coming from Korea or Japan. So I had hopes for The Strangers, because its about time we had a good old American scare. Like I said, Ive seen a lot, and as such, Im not easily frightened. The Strangers actually scared me, and even better, it scared me all the way to the end.
James Hoyt (Scott Speedman) and Kristen McKay (Liv Tyler) are a pretty average-seeming couple in what appears to be the last throes of a doomed romance. Their bittersweet last hurrah at their isolated summer homehours after Kristen has turned down James marriage proposalis cut short when a group of masked strangers begins to first harassand then terrorizethe couple through the night. Faced with no way out and virtually no hope, James and Kristen struggle to survive the tortures of their unknown assailants.
The Strangers begins with a few words about how the story is inspired by true events. This is not to say it really happenedwriter/director Bryan Bertino claims to have been inspired both by the Manson family killings and by an event in his own childhood in which a strange woman knocked on his door asking for directions and later burglarized several neighborhood houses. The story doesnt have to be true to be scary, though, and it is just the idea of its possible truth, of the mundane and simple events surrounding such terrifying realities, that causes the scares. Bertino doesnt go for a large amount of goreor even, really, an abundance of violenceto accomplish his desired effect. By using sound and atmosphere and tension, he achieves a level of fear that most directors can only get to with special effects and a bucket of blood. He takes his couples utter helplessness and builds it in such a way that, when paired with the attackers slow, deliberate, dont worry, weve got all night attitude, crafts a suspenseful and satisfyingly solid thriller that does what the best of its kind doplays on our deepest fears and leaves us feeling unsettled long after the film ends.
It's Got: Plenty of Eek! moments, a scary premise, and masks
It Needs: Nothing really - I like it just the way it is
Finally, a makes you jump horror flick that didnt originate in a much scarier version from Asia, The Stranger throws two likable people into a horrifying situationplus there are masks.