After returning from a wedding reception, a couple staying in an isolated vacation house receive a knock on the door in the mid-hours of the night. What ensues is a violent invasion by three strangers, their faces hidden behind masks. The couple find themselves in a violent struggle, in which they go beyond what either of them thought capable in order to survive. Written by
Originally scheduled for release in summer 2007. After 2 delays, it was released May 30, 2008. See more »
The record player rotates to the right, then to the left. See more »
What you are about to see is inspired by true events. According to the FBI, there are an estimated 1.4 million violent crimes in America each year. On the night of February 11, 2005, Kristen McKay and James Hoyt left a friend's wedding reception and returned to the Hoyt family's summer home. The brutal events that took place there are still not entirely known.
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We all know the plot: young couple, isolated vacation home, people in masks. Yet from the start of 'The Strangers' it's clear that this film is a different. In today's bloodthirsty society, horror films are often reduced to nothing more than gore-filled gross-out fests. While many young teens may rejoice at such films, many of us still long for original, suspenseful, and, yes, terrifying horror movies. 'The Strangers' came so close.
There is plenty here to recommend: Director Bryan Bertino shows himself to be a patient and smart director. Rather than going for just cheap thrills, he wisely builds tension up to near-breaking point. The feeling of suspense and dread that covers the whole film is classic. Both Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman do well in their leading roles, and the strangers themselves are things of pure terror... yet that's where the film loses some of its commendation. The strangers at times seem that they can't possibly be human because they are made to be almost supernatural in their abilities. They appear and disappear seemingly at will and instantly- a power the young couple probably wished they had but don't because they are, after all, HUMANS. It's a simple mistake used to give the audience one of those cheap thrills that were otherwise so wisely avoided. What makes it sad is that in every other aspect, 'The Strangers' is chillingly realistic and terrifyingly possible. Every time those strangers come and go like ghosts of some kind, it makes the audience sit back once more and say, 'Ah, well, it's just a movie." That's too bad.
Still, 'The Strangers' is much better than your average horror fare. It's at last a new movie that realizes what you don't show can be even more scary than what you do. Still, one hopes that Mr. Bertino can touch up the mistakes from this film and , and deliver a really great horror movie next time around. 7/10 stars! Jay Addison
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