After kidnapping and brutally assaulting two young women, a gang unknowingly finds refuge at a vacation home belonging to the parents of one of the victims: a mother and father who devise an increasingly gruesome series of revenge tactics.
Desperate to repay his debt to his ex-wife, an ex-con plots a heist at his new employer's country home, unaware that a second criminal has also targeted the property, and rigged it with a series of deadly traps.
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
The blond doll face first makes an appreance asking if "Tamara was home." Gemma Ward, who plays this character, also played in Pirates of the Caribbean: 'Stranger' Tides as Tamara. 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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Kristen McKay and James Hoyt return from a night out to find a knock at the door at some ungodly hour. What follows is a terrifying invasion as three masked raiders torment and attack the couple at frequent intervals, can the couple find within them the strength to survive their ordeal?
The horror genre is a tough cookie to work out these days, so many remakes and re-images rightly suggest that it's a genre in steady decline. Occasionally hope of a resurgence is offered up by the likes of hyperbole supremo's like Eli Roth and here with first time writer and director, Bryan Bertino. If these guys promised half of what they proclaimed they would do with their respective horror entries, well the genre would be born again and the fans would be rejoicing around the graveyards.
The Strangers is not a bad film by any stretch of the entrails, it's just not a particularly good one, and certainly not the original and fresh home invasion spin promised by Bertino. The premise of course is very solid, we all as human beings live in perpetual fear of a home invasion by psychos or chav like aggressors (the latter of concern to UK residents, see Eden Lake for example), and with this pro porting to be based on real events, the impact was waiting to, well impact, but questionable resources from our besieged couple just add a shrug of the shoulders to an already yawning audience. The project had been on the back burner for a couple of years, with the script being altered by Bertino from its early incarnations, I wonder just how much was changed because it looks to me that Bertino has altered an intended psychological chiller, and instead settled for a blend of boo jump scares and edginess, and it fails to successfully achieve either.
The film also suffers badly by having two lead actors barely up to the job of convincing as terrified victims. Liv Tyler can sit adequate in the most basic of acting roles, but when it calls for a role to get the audience involved she sadly comes up short. Scott Speedman can act, but here he seems lost within the confines of a poorly written character, both actors unable to carry the film to any sort of genre highlight. The ending to the piece just about works, and pair that with the creepiness of the masked raiders then The Strangers just about sits in the average horror department. But really we are no further forward than when we had the mighty and magnificent Black Christmas back in 1974, at least the likes of Vacancy (almost killed by its ending) from 2007 have a sense of adventure about them, setting out (and delivering) honest intentions from the off, likable leads and a willingness to entertain whilst knowing its limitations. Sadly The Strangers is a missed opportunity to create something memorable and totally scary, director Bertino's next protect, Alone, could quite possibly make or break a fledgling genre career. 5/10
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