Got Stalkers? ‘The Strangers’ Delivers Creepy Fun

Jessica Bourse

It doesn’t matter if your lock your windows and bolt the doors – The Strangers” is a thrilling, on-the-edge-of-your-seat horror flick that will do anything to get in.
Reminiscent of slasher-movie classic “Halloween” (1978), and French horror film “Ils (Them)” (2006), “The Strangers” is a fun ride, delivering moments of fear and suspense.

Kristen McKay and James Hoyt, played by Liv Tyler (“Reign Over Me,” 2007) and Scott Speedman (“Underworld: Evolution,” 2006), as a distraught couple spending the night at the Hoyt’s family vacation home when they become the victims of stalking and terror from three masked strangers.

Both Tyler and Speedman stand out as horror movie actors, allowing their actions and emotions to speak louder than cheesy lines typically used by horror protagonists. While the two characters struggle to fight and survive, the audience senses their emotional wounds and feelings each other healing.

First-time director and writer Bryan Bertino delivers more than one would expect from a rookie. As a director in a “new-school” industry, Bertino has mastered “old-school” horror techniques, relying on the art of building suspense and dread, instead of building up body counts and exaggerated gore.

The movie brings back the masked sociopathic killer, packaging it in the forms of three villains, adding the extra-frightening disclaimer: motive not included. The use of simple, childish masks enhanced the creepiness of the film.

Remaining true to the standard horror movie recipe, there are moments of frustration as characters become stupid with adrenaline and make the worst possible decisions-ever.

An example of this is when Hoyt’s friend, Mike, played by Glen Howerton (“Two Weeks,” 2006), pulls up to the house and sees that something is obviously not right. Instead of calling the police, like any normal person would do, he decides to enter the house.further explanation isn’t necessary.

Although the home-invasion type storyline is not entirely original, having been seen in movies such as “Funny Games” (1997 and 2007) and “Ils (Them),” “The Strangers” remains entertaining.

Overall, “The Strangers” is a fun movie, delivering
screams, fright, and delight.

My rating: three stars out of four.

This film is rated “R” for violence/terror and language; released by Universal Pictures; running time: 90 minutes.
Directed and written by Bryan Bertino; Peter Sova, director of photography; Kevin Greutert, film editor; production design by John D. Kretschmer; original music by tomandandy, produced by Rogue Pictures.