(2008)

Critic Reviews

47

Metascore

Based on 27 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
91
It isn't particularly original--for one, it owes an unacknowledged debt to the French film "Them"--but as an exercise in controlled mayhem, horror movies don't get much scarier.
75
Chicago Tribune
Bertino's taut, spare thriller is plenty scary without relying on pseudo-historical context. Anchored by convincing performances from Scott Speedman and Liv Tyler, both of whom elevate their roles above the standard horror-movie caricature, this is an enormously unsettling movie.
70
Village Voice
Bertino teases with the unknown until he's left no pimple ungoosed. Sometimes avoiding the synapse-raping bad habits of splat packers Eli Roth and Alexandre Aja is its own reward; doing so without also submitting to Michael Haneke–style hand-slapping is nearly monumental.
70
Variety
It's all efficiently nerve-jangling, with Tyler and Speedman credibly registering every hue of panic. Still, after such a long, creepy, cannily restrained buildup, it must be said the resolution is rather flat, a full-circle postscript rote.
67
Younger viewers who've cut their teeth on the instant horrors of modern "torture porn" may find The Stranger's pace and psychological upsets more slow-going than they might like. Yet a film like this may be just the bracing corrective the modern horror film needs.
67
Bryan Bertino, stages The Strangers' early scenes with spooky panache...But then comes the blood, the shrieking midnight chase scenes, the anything-goes over-the-top-ness. In other words, everything that we liked the movie for not being.
25
Charlotte Observer
Bertino directs at a funereal pace. Speedman remains comatose, though Tyler flickers fitfully to life. The mournful look on her face suggests she's remembering the days when she was given more psychologically complex scripts, such as "Armageddon."
25
No one is getting at anything in The Strangers, except the cheapest, ugliest kind of sadistic titillation.
25
Is Hollywood so disconnected from its past and bankrupt of ideas that it doesn't even know this movie is a screaming cliché?
20
I like watching snakes eat mice just as much as the next fella, maybe even more, but The Strangers turns the gobble-'em-up into an ordeal. It's a fraud from start to finish.

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