The Strangers

The Strangers

What She said:


This Halloween, I’m looking for a movie to get me real spooked out.  I mean terrified, circa the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre.  I was hoping that The Strangers would do that for me, and indeed it did deliver some scares and thrills, but overall the film feel a bit short of perfection.

From the onset, I knew there was trouble.  The movie opens with the standard, “Based on true events,” message, which we all know is total horse doo doo.  I can’t remember the last time I saw a movie that was based on actual events that was authentic.  Actually, the worst is when a film is inspired by actual events.  Basically that just means that the writers saw American Justice, thought it would be cool to create a movie about a murder, and drew up something completely fictional.  But hey, they were inspired by actual events.  I digress. 

Back to the movie at hand.  The Strangers stars Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman as a couple who are going through a bit of a rough patch.  Everything was just peachy until Speedman decided to propose and poor Liv just wasn’t ready.  They’re coming off of that shocker and are in that awkward period of, what do we do next, staying at Speedman’s father’s old home, which, of course, is in a secluded area.  That’s when the bad guys show up.  When Speedman is out getting some air, they attack the home and start terrorizing Tyler’s character.  Speedman comes home and joins in the action, and the movie turns into the couple franticly trying to get away.  Phones don’t work, cars are sabotaged, and there is an unfortunate incident with a friend.  Physically and emotionally, the couple is tortured.

And that’s pretty much it.  A very basic premise, not that this is a bad thing.  Horror movies don’t need to be complicated to be effective.  The film utilizes all of the most classic scary movie devices.  Crackly record players billowing old hits, silhouettes in the background, and, literally, writing on the wall.  The concepts are pretty unoriginal, but I’ll admit to being spooked at times, and that’s really all I was asking for.  There’s some weird link with some Mormon kids in the beginning and end of the movie, which seemed pretty pointless, but aside from that, The Strangers was ok scary movie fluff.  The movie unfortunately fizzles toward the end, and it’s definitely not the best, but it’s better than some other recent horror releases.

Thumbs three quarters of the way up.

What he said:


I like a good scare. I like sitting on the edge of my seat, getting engrossed in a story, and having it jump out and scare the bejesus out of me when I least expect it. That being said, I’m not a real big fan of horror movies that go too far. There’s some things you don’t really need to see, even if fictional. I don’t enjoy over-the-top gore (unless it’s funny) or some sick sexual stuff. Less is more as far as that stuff is concerned in this humble movie reviews opinion.

The Strangers is a tale of a couple on the rocks. You see, Scott Speedman’s character has just proposed to Liv Tyler’s. As you may have guessed, she has declined; which makes the fact that they are at his family vacation home on a romantic getaway all the more awkward. People facing adversity, flawed characters, or something else of that nature is a fairly typical trait of horror movies. This one was no different in that sense, as we are told right from the get-go what is troubling our main characters. It’s often meant to serve some purpose later on in the film and this movie was no different. The couple must learn how to deal with these unwelcome visitors if they are to hope to survive.

So anyways, after they settle in and what not, things slowly start to go awry. A rather confused woman randomly shows up at their door. She’s told she has the wrong address and eventually leaves. Sure enough though, the knocking on the door returns – eventually turns into pounding – and then stuff starts to get really hairy. As the title would suggest, she’s not alone and these home invaders are soon inside and toying with the couple as freely as they please.

Can the couple come together in their time of stress to overcome this terrifying situation? Well you’ll just have to watch to find out.

The Strangers didn’t strike me as anything all that unique or groundbreaking, but that doesn’t mean it was bad. In fact, I would say I was definitely entertained by it. There’s so many bad horror movies out there, that when a good one comes a long, you have to appreciate it; even if it’s not destined to be a classic.

Prognosis: Thumbs up.

This movie was given the He said, She said seal of approval on October 28, 2011.