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RELEASED: 2008, Cert. 15
RUNNING TIME: Approx. 85 mins
DIRECTOR/SCREENPLAY: Bryan Bertino
PRODUCERS: Doug Davison, Nathan Kahane & Roy Lee
Scott Speedman as James
Liv Tyler as Kristen
Gemma Ward, Kip Weks & Laura Margolis as the three masked people
FILM ONLY REVIEW
James and Kristen arrive at James's father's holiday house on their way home from a friend's wedding, with the aim of spending the night so as to avoid making a long journey so late. Things aren't too good between the couple, as Kristen has refused James's marriage proposal.....they aren't arguing and aren't in any way behaving hostilely with one another, but their mood is sad and bleak. However, through circumstance, they are forced to spend the night together in the isolated holiday house.
There is a knock at the door, and on answering it, a young woman asks if Tamara is at home. She sounds vague and lost, but leaves when she is told nobody of that name lives there.
To ease his tension over having his marriage proposal refused, James offers to go out for a drive, to buy a pack of cigarettes for Kristen, as she has just smoked the last one. Whilst he is away, Kristen is disturbed by loud banging on the front door, the coal fire which James had lit for her starts to smoke badly and when she tries to phone James asking him to hurry back, her mobile runs out of charge.
Scared, and unable to contact James, Kristen is disturbed by seeing three masked people wandering around outside, standing by the windows and hammering at the doors.
When James gets back, the situation turns to one of sheer terror, as he and Kristen battle for survival against the creepy masked trio.
The Strangers is apparently based on a true event, which allegedly took place in 2005.
The opening part of the film almost put me off altogether, as a few words are spoken by a narrator with an extremely irritating and phony-sounding voice. However, it would have been stupid to stop watching at that point, so I continued.
The feelings exchanging between James and Kristen are very well acted and put across, as both are upset, but for different reasons....James is upset that Kristen says she isn't ready to marry him, and she feels put on the spot and simultaneously sad about not being able to accept the proposal, because she does love James. Whilst they are inside of the holiday home and having a rather awkward conversation, that is when the first knock on the door comes.
The suspense levels in The Strangers run very high from beginning to end, but are at their strongest during the earlier part of the film. The music is superb, creating a tensely tingling atmosphere throughout, being of an avant-garde nature. James and Kristen find a record player in the house, and the music James puts on is really, really good, totally befitting his downcast mood. Later on in the film during the high action parts, some C&W is played on the record player, which is a total contrast to what is happening at that moment, such coming across as quite disturbing.
Some of the diction from Scott Speedman and Liv Tyler as James and Kristen respectively isn't too clear, especially during the earlier part of the film...and that is a little distracting because although not being able to hear some of what they are saying doesn't confuse the issue or mar the storyline, it is still somewhat irritating.
There are some great camera angles used in this film, which serve to add to the chilling atmosphere, but many of the scenes are shot in darkness. This is part of the story, the darkness, but not enough staging light is used to allow the viewer to comfortably see what is happening. For me, that was a bit of a fly in the ointment, as overall this is a really good film. The story isn't by any means original or unique, but if it (as stated) was based on true events, then maybe it is the creators of other films of this nature who are copy-catting, rather than this one.
Some of the scenes really are quite scary, especially if you try to imagine yourself in the same situation and how you would cope....and, I suppose in a remote location, there is an outside chance something similar could happen to anybody. That was another good aspect of this film, in that although it is a situation which certainly doesn't happen every day, it is at least feasible.
I perhaps wrongly guess that The Strangers was made on a low budget, but if it was, then the team has managed to create a very good film which doesn't have to rely upon special effects to get its point across. I've always been a great believer in the idea that real life can be far scarier than anything supernatural, and this film admirably pushes the boat out with that premise.
I did enjoy watching The Strangers very much, even with the little black spots on the horizon such as some scenes being too dark and some mumbled dialogue, as it otherwise is a very well-constructed film that expertly builds up some very decent levels of tension, with the sinister element being spot on....but, then came the crunch, and that was the absolute very ending of the film which is so ludicrous, that it almost wiped out the enjoyment of everything which had gone before. The build-up to that last frame is very chilling, but then it was as if someone had opened a box of damp squibs for the final screenshot.
If the very end of The Strangers hadn't have been so awful, I'd happily award five stars - even with the lack of light, mumbled dialogue and the phony voice right at the beginning - but the dead fly on top of the cake instead of a big, fat juicy cherry, has forced me to knock off a point. However, it is a film I probably will consider watching again one day, as overall it is very good.
At the time of writing, The Strangers can be purchased from Amazon as follows:-
New: from £2.68 to £24.99
Used: from 9p to £12.00
Collectible: from £5.99 to £26.00
Some items on Amazon are available for free delivery within the UK, but where this doesn't apply, a £1.26 charge should be added to the above figures.
Thanks for reading!
~~ Also published on Ciao under my CelticSoulSister user name ~~
LONG STORY SHORT: worst possible horror film ever.
I watched the film out of curiosity, especially considering that the lead stars were Liv Tyler (Armageddon, the Lord of the Rings trilogy) and Scott Speedman (Underworld, Underworld Revolution). But it was disappointing. The opening sequence was a little bit intriguing, but once the two characters entered the film with their problems and bad acting, the film became trash. I mean, is there anything more depressing than bad lines and bad acting? not to mention that they seem to have a really low budget for lighting. When I talk about low, it's as low as the Earth's core. I can barely make out their faces! half of the time, I can't even know what they're doing!
Then I got interested again when someone knocked on their door! thank God! but the girl has a mask, so it added to the 'mystery factor' of the film. Then things went downhill after that. The helpless, stuck girl quickly became a creepy stalker and the film picked up, and that's the reason why I stuck around until the movie's trashy end.
The action is really sparse, kept in little dribs and drabs. and the psychos themselves are really elusive that you want to jump into the screen and ask why on earth they're stalking a miserable couple. And the movie didn't even offer a good backstory or reminiscences that makes the audience love the couple, if they(audience) loved the couple, it makes them root for them to live, not die. Instead, we get a sad, couple who are on the brink of divorce.
AND THE ENDING SUCKS. BIG TIME. it doesn't even reveal the psychos' motives. BIG TIME SUCK!!!!! DON'T WASTE YOUR TIME!!!!!
The Strangers is a horror film released in 2008 starring Live Tyler and Scott Speedman. Critical reception for the film was mixed, as is my overall opinion of the film.
As a huge horror movie fan and never one to turn down a possible gem of film, I picked myself up a copy of The Strangers from my local HMV for about £5 and decided to watch it when I got home. The certificate for the film is a 15 and so I just bypassed that at the time to be able to legally watch it!
The acting for the film is as good as can be for a horror movie. Often, I find it difficult judging an actors ability to scream, in fact Liv Tyler apparently developed Tonsillitis as a result of all the screaming, so at least we can conclude that she was committed to the role. Other than that the acting is as good as can be in the short dialogue sequences that occur. If anything, it is what is NOT said that is much more significant and interesting than what is said, which is a great success of the director, and something that I did enjoy throughout the film.
The film is described as a horror but in my opinion it was much more of a suspense, long winded film. According to one definition horror films are unsettling movies that strive to elicit the emotions of fear, disgust and horror from viewers, but the action was very slowly dragged out and much more concerned with 'he's behind you!' scenes, rather than any violence or terror. This did mean however, that once the action progressed to the stage in which the fate of struggling couple Kristen and James met their climax, it was much more tense and much more exciting.
The idea of the film is that a couple are preyed upon simply 'because [they] were home' by a trio masked assailants who seek to terrorise and eventually torture the couple within the summer home they are staying in as a result of a wedding they attended later that day. The events are made much more chilling with the slogan that reveals that the film is based upon true events, revealed later by the writer and director to be the Keddie Cabin Murders of 1981.
Live Tyler, says of the film that "I especially liked Bryan's way of saying a lot, but not saying everything. Often in movies, it's all spelled out for you, and the dialogue is very explanatory. But Bryan doesn't write like that; he writes how normal people communicate--with questions lingering." This is something I particularly agree what as the huge withdrawal of information induces the suspense for the which the action and conclusion are based upon, thus aiding all of the narrative and the success of the film altogether.
My overall opinion of the film can be attributed to the words The New York Times described the Strangers as which were, "suspenseful," "highly effective," and that it "smartly maintain[s] its commitment to tingling creepiness over bludgeoning horror." This is something I agree with on the most part, as the enjoyment, if you can call it that, I gathered from the film were mostly as a result of this fact, but it was also this that made it somewhat boring at times for me. The duration of the film was 85 minutes which I feel was a bit too much as a short interval nearing the films closure actually had me thinking the film had finished upon my first viewing and I feel that I had learnt the same amount at this point as I had by the film's end, and this only added to my boredom. Perhaps I am just impatient, but I felt the drawn out scenes, particularly to show the strain in the couples relationship, although were somewhat necessary to the progression within the film, they didn't need to be as complex and stretched out as they were and so it wouldn't be fair for me to rate this film 5/5, in my opinion.
The Strangers - Movie Review
I am a huge horror movie fan, and I love scaring myself by watching horror movies. So recently I rented a copy of 'the strangers' and me and my friends sat down and watched it together, in hope that we would scare ourselves for fun! I rented it from Blockbusters, and I think it was around £3 to rent for a few days.
So the storyline of the strangers, is quite simple. Kristen and James had just come back from a wedding, and they go to stay at their parents summer home for the night. But they soon realise that they are not alone, and that 3 masked strangers are watching them, and soon they start getting terrorized.
At the start of the film it says 'inspired by true events' and that for me, is what made this film extra scary and creepy. The thought that it can actually happen to you.
There isn't really any gory moments in this film until the end, but even at the end it isn't very gory. Which I actually liked, as I don't see how gory things can actually be scary. However all though there wasn't much gore, there was quite a few moments that made you jump, and I love horror movies that make you jump.
This film didn't really have that much of a storyline, and I felt for ¾ of the film, it was just the couple hiding and running from the masked strangers, and that was about it. Yes there were jumpy and scary moments, but I think I prefer horror movies with more of a storyline.
I think the director did do a good job of the way this film was filmed, the way it was filmed when things 'popped out' made it scarier as you don't expect it, and the camera didn't keep moving around the place like it does in some films, so you can see clearly what is happening. The setting for the film was ideal. The holiday home was in a very quite place with trees surrounding it, etc. The perfect setting for a horror movie!
The cast was very small, there are obviously the 3 masked strangers, then Kristen and James, and their friend Mike. The strangers didn't actually say hardly anything, in the whole film they probably said about 5 lines. For some people this may be annoying that they didn't say much, but I found that it was scarier that they weren't speaking.
I found that Liv Tyler (Kristen) and Scott Speedman (James) fitted the role of the young couple perfectly. They were both good at playing the victims however I thought that Scott Speedman who played James was especially good.
The film was a typical horror movie, there weren't really any twists or anything like some horror films you get, and at some points it was predictable. And there were moments when you were thinking 'just stay in your hiding place and you'll be fine' but no they go and do stupid things like run outside into the middle of the field where the strangers will obviously be able to see you. If it was in real life, they actually had a good chance of killing the 3 strangers, but they did stupid things like leave each other when they only had one weapon between them. It made the film more frustrating and it would have been much more scarier if they didn't do such stupid things as it wouldn't have been so predictable. However the film did create a lot of tension and you knew something was going to happen, which made it scary. The music played throughout the film was also very creepy and chilling, as at some parts it isn't the typical horror movie music you would expect, but you just have to watch it to find out what I mean.
Overall the film did have quite a few jumpy scary moments, but it was also quite slow paced and not much happened in the film apart from them running and hiding from the strangers, and it wasn't a very developed storyline. I must say that I was a little let down by the ending. But overall it did give me and my friends a few scares and there were some really creepy moments in the film, so it was quite good, but I think it just had the potential to be a bit better.
I had a copy of the 2008 film The Strangers sitting on my laptop for sometime, but it was never at the top of my list for which film to watch next on a quiet night in... I suppose I thought it would be just another horror film, and after watching quite a few very average horrors of late, The Strangers kept slipping to the back of my mind.
I finally got around to watching the film last night though, and I ended up being quite pleasantly surprised by what I saw!
The Strangers was directed by Bryan Bertino, and was his debut film - which in my opinion bodes well for his future films. The story of the film is actually a very simple one - Kristen McKay (played by Liv Tyler) and James Hoyt (played by Scott Speedman) are a couple returning home after a wedding reception, where James' proposal of marriage has just been turned down by his unready girlfriend.
It's after their tense return home that there's a knock at their door, late at night, by a strange girl. It turns out she is not alone, and so begins a night of horror for Kristen and James!
I actually really liked this film as it's very different from the bloodthirsty slasher-type horror films that have been around in recent years. It's much more subtle and relies on good old-fashioned tension building rather than cheap gory thrills, which I preferred.
The film moved along at a really good pace, and the tension and fear generated by the strangers turning up at the house, and their later antics, was pretty much constant which kept the suspense levels high. I didn't find myself distracted or bored at any point, which is unusual for me with horror films, as I'm not weak stomached in the slightest and generally find even the most shocking and gore-ridden horror films to be unconvincing and a bit dull. The Strangers was refreshing in it's approach and the film dealt with the horror it generated in a much more convincing way than in usual horror films - the fact that this film was not about supernatural powers, but real, deranged killers performing a house invasion made this much more realistic and therefore enjoyable for me.
The only actors really required to do any work were Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman in the two lead roles - the strangers themselves had very little to do - and I thought that they played their roles convincingly and were believeable. With a film like The Strangers, the basic plot is already pretty much known, but by starting the film with the uncomfortable proposal knock-back, the director started the film on a very tense, emotional note, so even knowing that the strangers would ultimately wreak havoc, the film wasn't completely predictable.
Overall, I really enjoyed The Strangers, and I was pleasantly surprised at how good it was. I wish more films would concentrate on building tension and suspense and give less precidence to gore like The Strangers did, as the horror genre would be better for this.
Film Duration: 85 minutes
Director: Bryan Bertino
Country: United States
Scott Speedman as James Hoyt
Liv Tyler as Kristen McKay
Gemma Ward as Dollface
Kip Weeks as The Man In The Mask
Laura Margolis as Pin-Up Girl
The based on a true story of James Hoyt and Kristen McKay who are staying at the summer residence of the parents of James following a wedding celebration. The mood in the car is very cool and it soon becomes clear that something during the wedding went wrong. James has asked to marry Kristen but Kristen said no because she is not ready. It is quite painful for James and when they return to the house we see James has all decorated it with roses and champagne as he obviously expected Kristen to say yes. Unfortunately it took different and the situation is almost painful to watch. James calls a good friend asking if he could pick him up the next morning because it seems better to just part ways. But suddenly there is someone banging on the doors during the middle of the night. They open the door and there stands a young woman who asks if Tamara is at home. James and Kristen tell her that she has the wrong house. The young woman goes away but not for long. When James leaves to pick up cigarettes for Kristin and clear his head the young woman is back but this time she is not alone. Kristen soon hears noises around her and she is terrified in a corner. What do these people want and why are they tormenting her?
The performances are very good in this movie. You really only see James and Kristen and the 'strangers' themselves aren't really shown until near the end of the movie and then they are in masks and we never get to see their faces. Funny enough one of strangers played by former supermodel Gemma Ward, but her face is never visible in the movie. Liv Tyler plays Kristin excellently and is very good in showing both the devastation about hurting James and then terror when the strangers arrive. In the beginning, you see the sorrow and pain after the marriage application has been rejected. You can clearly see that she has difficulty. The other lead role is played by Scott Speedman who delivers a good performance as James Hoyt. His heartbreak over being rejected by Kristin is there upon his face for everyone to see and i was impressed by his performance the most. It is rare to have such good performances in a horror movie.
Unfortunately there are only trailers on the DVDs of other movies. A Missed opportunity.
The Strangers is a very good exciting film based on a simple story but very well done. In the beginning the movie might be somewhat slow in its structure but does ensure that when the 'strangers' arrive that their entrance is dramatic and scary. Kristen and James are all alone in the house and can't actually reach the outside world they are trapped for long and it is unclear what these people want. What I remember is the answer to one of the strangers when Kristen asked why they are doing it the stranger simply replies with: "Because you were in". A very scary idea that these people do this to James and Kristen simply because they were home. The film is highly recommended for people who love a good scare.
I love myself some horror movies but never am I normally frightened by them just the odd jump so it was with all confidence I decided to watch the strangers one night while I was on my own.
The movie starts with a voiceover informing the audience that the film is based on true events. Then there is a 911 recording of a boy crying and telling the operator that there is so much blood. Accompanying this is a scene of a house that looks like it has been trashed with blood splattered walls.
The movie then flashes to a car where we meet an attractive young couple James and Kristen who are arriving home to their secluded cabin in the woods after being at a friend's wedding. We get the sense everything isn't right between them and it's clear that Kristen has been crying but the couple drive in silence. When they arrive home we see that James has scattered rose petals and there is a bottle of champagne. James apologises telling Kristen that he had came up earlier to get the house ready for her.
Kristen goes for a bath while James phones his friend and leaves a message on his voicemail telling him that everything didn't go well and he will need him to pick him up.
There is a flashback to earlier in the night when we see James and Kristen at the wedding looking happy together and we see that James had proposed to Kristen earlier and evidently she had said no.
It's the middle of the night and the couple are talking about the future of their relationship when there is a loud knock on the door. Wondering who it could be James answer the door to see it's a young girl standing in the shadows. The girl asks if Tamara is there and when James says no she asks if he is sure. He tries to turn the porch light on but it's not working and the girl walks away and James checks the light and sees the bulb needs screwed back in.
James assures Kristen that everything is fine and people often get confused up there. Kristen has run out of cigarettes so James tells her he will go drive somewhere to get her a packet. When he has left we follow Kristen as she wanders round the house in complete silence until there is another knocking on the door. She asks who it is and a voice asks her if Tamara is there again she says no and when the voice asks if she is sure she answers her and then there is silence.
After a short while loud knocking starts at the windows and door and she gets seriously freaked out and when James arrives back they realise that someone is outside and it's not merely kids looking to scare them but they are in serious danger from a group of masked people. Not knowing what they want they need to survive until they either escape or help comes.
This film seriously spooked me. The premise of a couple being terrorised in their own home by a group of masked strangers is such a simple one but so effective. There is no scary monster's to worry about just a group of very twisted kids which is the worst part to think that this could in fact happen to anyone.
The film really delivers in both the scares and shocks and it does this by slowly building the tension and it makes such a refreshing change from the over the top gore of such films as saw and hostel, here most of the violence is shown off screen and it works much better this way.
The vibe of the whole film is really retro and if it wasn't for the fact that the character has a mobile phone it could be set in any time period. It plays like the classic thrillers and wont date as badly as some horror movies. Live Tyler and Scott Speedman both do a terrific job of portraying the couple being terrorised but also in the early scenes of the breakdown of their relationship. Even though we know from the beginning that things won't end well I really found myself rooting for James and Kristen to have a happy ending and for them to be together as its obvious they do love each other very much.
The masked kids are also really effective when we see them even though they have minimal lines. I was interested to note that the Character of Doll face so named because of the mask she wears was played by supermodel Gemma Ward who even I've heard of. I did wonder why she chose to take on a part where her face is covered for the entire movie but her body language is superb and she manages to convey more menace with just her body language than a lot of actors manage with their faces.
This is the only movie that has managed to actually scare me in a long long time and it stayed with me long after id watched the film. There is a line in the movie where Kristen asks why them and they answer her by saying "because you were in" I think this for me was the creepiest part knowing that it wasn't personal it was just because they wanted to do this to someone and it didn't matter who it was. That there are crazy people out there who would do this to someone is scarier than all the monsters combined.
I was also interested to see that a sequel is planned and I'm interested to see how they are going to manage this.
I would definitely recommend this film to anyone who is looking for a good old fashion scare without the need of seeing blood and guts.
I remember the ad campaign for The Strangers, but I never went to the cinema to see it. Recently, I saw it playing on the movies package for my satellite provider, so I decided to watch.
Kristen McKay and James Hoyt are a couple staying at James' parents' home. They are having relationship difficulties, so James leaves to give Kristen some space. A young woman knocks on the door, but Kristen tells her that she has the wrong address. The woman knocks again and starts banging on the door. Kristen locks the door, thinking that she is safe, but soon there are signs that someone is already in the house.
-Most intriguing serial killers
At the end of the film the 'strangers' reveal the reason why they have been tormenting the couple. I won't ruin it, but this is the first film I have seen that addresses these types of killers. However, the reason's delivery fell flat for me. It's like they tried to reveal the Strangers' reason in a cold, nonchalant way. It just sounded stupid to me. The build up was not worth the wait. Saying that, I bet you'll never guess why the Strangers are on the attack.
One thing I liked about the Strangers is that they make it clear how much power they have. For example, when the girlfriend is hiding somewhere, a Stranger blatantly looks at her hiding place as if to show that he knows she's there but isn't ready to attack yet. This was a nice change from the usual killers who hunt down their victims and attack.
Obviously if the couple were quick thinkers then the film would not have lasted as long as it did, but the couple are VERY stupid. As a result, near the end I just wanted everything to be over and done with. I was sick of seeing the couple running or crawling all over the place, splitting up when common sense says you should stick together, especially when there's only one gun and your partner is alone and unarmed, and coming out of hiding places where they could have waited for help.
I LOVE horror, but haven't been scared by any horrors since my childhood when I watched Scream movies. Nowadays I may jump from fright once or feel slightly tense, but that's it. The Strangers didn't even manage that. When the couple's house is first being attacked, the foundation for tension and thrills was there, but nothing happened. I watched the film to the end because I wanted to know why the Strangers were tormenting this couple, but I was yawning and bored out of my mind by this time.
I expected the first half of the film to show the couple being ambushed and tormented by the Strangers, and then the second half would involve the couple being captured and/or escaping. Instead the couple, mostly girlfriend, just run and hide and run and hide, back and forth from the house to the shed to the house, in cupboards and bedrooms and cupboards, etc. That was 85% of the film.
I recommend that you avoid this film at all costs or wait for it to be shown on TV for free. I would NEVER pay to watch this and have no intention of adding it to my DVD collection. Spend your money elsewhere, PLEASE. Besides some blood, I would not call this horror.
Again, I believe the reason for the bashing of this film is because of the fact that people are much more used to seeing heavy doses of gore in their films these days rather than movies who genuinely make an effort to try and frighten the audience, and this one does try.
The plot is rather simple. A couple are terrorised in their home, a holiday house in the middle of nowhere, by three masked strangers.
For the most part of this film, it focuses on tension and suspense as the couple are being watched by the three culprits and all sorts of tricks are played upon them.
The film does have a lot of quiet moments but what I mean by that is, there is no blood and gore, and the psycho's are just content to play with the minds of the two people they are terrorising.
I can recognise a horror film that tries to be different and I will give it credit for that.
I am not blinded by the insane amounts of blood in horror films these days and for me, this movie worked and entertained me in a different way.
Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman play the terrorised couple and they do a good job.
I'm not a big fan of Tyler's acting but she is actually very tolerable in this one.
The one big negative about this film, though, is that we are given very limited knowledge on the culprits and their motivations for doing what they were doing.
I know that sometimes this can be a good thing but it doesn't work here.
The film spends a lot of time building up the suspense and tension but it didn't quite have the pay off that I was expecting, which was frustrating.
However, refreshing horror films like this only come around once in a blue moon, the latest being 'Paranormal Activity' (which is now getting a bashing by the public), and it was interesting to watch for me and it kept me on the edge of my seat.
And I'm no "stranger" to horror films!
Watch this one if you have an open mind to watch something different than the usual typical rubbish that's always being churned out for the teenagers.
I went to see this film first at the cinema and it absolutely petrified me. I was so scared and jumpy I spent the entire film hidden behind my other halves back! I wasn't sure what had happened to me, I had always been fairly brave and quite into horror movies. As soon as this came out on DVD I had to get it, and watch it, just to prove to myself that I wasn't really that scared after all!
Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman are the man characters in this film and are James and Kirsten. They have just been to a wedding, had a really upsetting argument about their future, and as the wedding is far from home they proceed to stay in a small house in the middle of nowhere owned by James' family. Anyone with any horror movie experience can predict what happens next, but even though I was pretty sure exactly what was round the corner I was still so scared! The house becomes surrounded by strange people in masks (as the front of the DVD depicts) who proceed to scare and torture the two inside.
The film is a pretty standard horror movie. Two people stuck in the middle of nowhere and terrorised by those in masks. I'm not sure what it is about masks that make things so scary but it really does work. Now what also made this film scary for me, was not a strong psychological plot line, or never seen before story, but was how jumpy the film was. Even though you could pretty much guess what was going to happen, you didn't know exactly when!
I enjoyed this film. It had no huge substance, and is not groundbreaking, but it made me scared, even when I watched it second time round. I rpobably wont be watching it again, I just don't think I can handle putting myself through it!
~ Title ~ The Strangers
~Running Time~ 1hr 24mins
~Director~ Bryan Bertino
Kristen - Liv Tyler
James - Scott Speedman
After a disappointing and awkward evening in which Kristen rejects James's proposal they arrive at James's families summer house, in far different circumstances to which James was obviously expecting. A knock at the door at 4am startles the pair, especially as there are no surrounding houses for a few miles. The pair answer, to be met by a lone woman simply asking if a friend is home. The woman seems reluctant to believe that no woman by that name lives there, but eventually leaves. Thinking no more of it, and needing some space, James sets out to the local shop, leaving Kristen alone in the house.
Some time passes, with James still gone, another knock is heard at the door. This time Kristen refuses to answer, merely asking through the door who it is, again the lone woman has returned and again asks for the friend that doesn't live there. She soon leaves, but Kristen is left slightly worried. Having rung James and advising him of the situation Kristen then leaves her phone on charge and continues to look around the house.
That is until more banging begins, this time at various parts of the house, Kristen also realises her phone is missing, and ultimately realises someone has been in the house! On James's return he finds Kristen shivering and holding a knife in the bedroom.
With the car now unusable, the pair are thrown into terror, with 3 masked intruders making them fight for their lives, with the only explanation as to why them, quite simply is that 'its because they were home.'
Quite simply one of THE scariest films I've seen. It really is such a simple concept, but with truly terrifying results. I've watched the film now about 5 times and am still unable to sit and watch it by myself. From the masks that the intruders wear to the simple statement 'because you were home,' quite easily makes this film feel all the more real, making it all the more scary.
The film was made on a budget of £9,000,000 and was released in August 2008, and although great speculation was circulating that the film was based on true events, the director confirmed this in fact was untrue.
The Strangers is a psychological horror film focusing on a couple (played by Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman) who are terrorized in their summer house one night by three masked intruders. The couple do their best to escape and survive the violent ordeal. The film was released in 2008.
That is all you need to know about the plot of The Strangers, Bryan Bertino's debut picture. Bertino expressed a desire to create a new type of horror in what he calls a "terror movie" and it is appears he is genuinely trying to do some different with a genre that is badly in need of some fresh ideas. The film's main attention is directed on the couple's summer house, which was purposefully chosen for its cosiness and normality. Rather than trying to create either a sense of claustrophobia or follow the predatory point of view of the film's antagonists, we see most of the action unfold from within the house looking out. I guess this is to try to create a sense of empathy for the two victims of the picture.
In retrospect here is much that could have made this film a minor classic or a cult favourite and, who knows, perhaps it still will. For me, however, the film just kept missing the mark. Sound can be a very effective device and Bertino uses it very intelligently in the piece. The signature knocking, for example, works in all of the film's strongest scenes. It is no Haunting in this respect, but a step in the right direction. The use of the vinyl record player coming on periodically also works. However, trying to turn Liv Tyler into the new scream queen doesn't increase the film's "terror" element. In fact, I found the off camera screams of Scott Speedman to be more chilling.
One criticism the film met was in the frustrating ineptness and stupidity of the film's two leads. I disagree and agree with this comment. The ineptness is a good idea. It brings a sense of realism too often lacking in horror and thriller pictures, where we it plays to most people's inflated sense of being able to respond with bravery, strength and tactical proficiency in times of stress. Their lacking in these departments is far more likely and is in line with the type of characters they are supposed to be - upper-Middle Americans who have no experience of violence whatsoever. However, and taking into account the way inexperienced people would react in this type of situation, there is that infuriating stupidity, which takes the film back into slasher territory. Also hallmarks of the old slasher tricks come in the form of having the three antagonists almost behave supernaturally and springing up here and there. This is all very old hat and not even attempted in a way that is original. One of the masked characters even cocks his head on one side, like an animal, when creeping behind a victim who cannot see him. On top of that we get the very tired "inspired by true event" gag at the beginning of the film. This has to be one of my main pet hates in films and I cannot believe people still fall for it. According to Bertino, the real event was the Manson Murders, but this is a huge stretch even if you consider the penultimate scene vaguely resembles them.
On the plus side, The Strangers is a refreshing attempt to move away from the torture porn trend, which plagued the horror of the 2000s and the film's leads are both able actors, which lifts it away from most slash 'n stalk pictures. All in all, Bertino has made a good first attempt, but it is a real shame that the film's urge for originality clashes with its undeniable use of clichés. There were so many opportunities where he could have got under the skin of the audience by creating uncomfortable empathy with the characters and their failings, but instead tends to prompt annoyance.
The extras on The Strangers adequately fit the film. There are a couple of deleted scenes, which were quite correctly cut out and a tidy featurette that is worth watching.
I like a good chilling film, eerie outdoes gore for me every time so The Strangers sounded like my kind of film. Starring Liv Tyler, Scott Speedman, Gemma Ward, Laura Margolis, Kip Weeks and Glenn Howerton it doesn't have a huge cast but the storyline doesn't warrant it. Out of all those people I only know of Liv Tyler.
Kristen McKay (Liv Tyler) and James Hoyt (Scott Speedman) return from a party to his family's remote holiday home in the woods. She has turned down his marriage proposal and the couple are being rather frosty with each other as a result. After a while there is a knock on the door, a young woman is standing on the porch asking if Tamara is there. The couple explain she has the wrong house and she leaves. James then goes out for cigarettes leaving Kristen alone and that's when the fun begins. The woman returns only for Kristen to tell her again she has the wrong house, the chimney gets blocked and sets off the fire alarm, Kristen conveniently has no charge on her mobile and well, you get my drift. This all leads to 3 strangers taunting and hunting Kristen and James when he returns.
The film was supposed to be based on a true story but when you search online to find out what that story was it all gets a bit hazy. It seems it may or may not be based on a true story and the rumour is it wasn't and was actually inspired by the Manson killings. Regardless it's a good plot.
I've read a few reviews from people who've missed the point. They don't seem to grasp the title and the fact these 3 strangers chose this house purely because someone was home. I think this makes it more chilling because we don't expect or like random events because we can't make sense of them in our rational minds so the fact it could happen to them means it could happen to anyone.
However the film itself is very flawed. Liv Tyler is in my opinion a good actress who plays sassy and strong best but here she is cast as an hysterical female who doesn't have a clue what to do. All the crying and wailing and feeble behaviour just isn't her style and that didn't help my enjoyment of this. Also there's a bit of Blair Witch style wobbling of the camera at times which my partner immediately announced was annoying him which of course made me more aware of it too!
As anticipated there is "horror movie stupidity" contained in this film and I need to warn you there's lots and lots of it. I was sat on the sofa saying "just sit tight and pick them off one by one with the gun" but did they listen to me? No. Lots of separating needlessly even though they have one weapon, lots of histrionics that decrease their chances of survival, lots of missed opportunities to get help and utterly stupid things like just crawling outside into wide open grass where they are completely visible and sitting ducks! It's packed with this kind of thing which is very irritating and contrived.
The 3 strangers are suitably eerie with their masks and the way they keep appearing out of nowhere. The methods they employ to both terrify and effectively hobble their prey are brutal and relentless and this makes for good viewing. The isolated woods is a great setting for this kind of film too with plenty of trees to potentially hide behind and no-one close enough to hear the activity.
The conclusion is quite fitting actually and fairly predictable as far as this kind of film goes, you can guess the ending part way through just like you can guess the next stupid thing they are going to do too!
Overall I didn't dislike it but it could have been oh so much better, the potential to make a truly terrifying film was there but sadly Bryan Bertino went with cliched horror movie stupidity instead. I'm giving it 3 stars for an eerie feel and an easy watch if you can resist shouting at the actors not to be so stupid throughout!
We rented ours from lovefilm and I don't recommend buying this film but if you do it's available from Amazon for £4.98 or used for just over £3. It's only 82 minutes long and the extras involve 2 scenes that got cut and really aren't worth watching as they add nothing to the plot. I'm a bit surprised to find it's a 15 and not an 18 but I suppose that's only based on the amount of violence and swearing etc and not on the fact the masks alone could give a 15 year old nightmares!
Watch it if you want but expect silly behaviour.
I've been brought up on 90's slasher films,some good most painfully bad but I just really enjoy them. Like most people I was hooked on this film the second i saw the advert. I like a good story, and love a big twist but lets face it most slashers do what they say on the tin, keep you jumping and peeking through your fingers. My pet hate is people watching horror films in daft surroundings, for example I watched the 'Blair witch Project' at a house party, what a absolute waste- how can you be scared when your surrounded by people laughing and joking? I am abit of a perfectionist when it comes to watching my horror films, If your not in the right mood to watch these kind of films they simply wont work! I was litteraly the only person in the cinema when I watched The Strangers and it was Awsome! I found myself grinning nervously because my nerves were shredded, the tention was almost unbearable, If you like films such as Them, Eden Lake and Funny games than I promise you this film will blow you away BUT if you watch it with a group of friends, after a few drinks expecting a 'Scream' type film then I suppose you could be disapointed. The begining is slow but thats for a reason, there is nothing worse than not caring about the main characters and the first 20min introduces them very well. Once you can relate to or even care about them its even more terrifying when the 'fun' starts. I felt like I was trapped inside the house with them as the masked 'strangers' stalked the garden and the woods. The best thing about this film is it feels so real, there isnt any over the top scares everything felt believable. The house is freaky, the masks are haunting, the mood is spine tingling but the circumstances are scary as hell!
Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman star in this horror film that I watched the other night. The story is a bit of a cliche in that a couple find themselves alone in the middle of nowhere in an isolated house late at night. Apparently the film is based on a true story bit quite how close this version is to the real thing I don't know.
Kirsten (Tyler ) and James (Speedman) are a couple who have just arrived at the house from a friend's wedding. Their relationship is in turmoil after Kirsten turned down James's proposal at the wedding. They are forced back together by the events that unfold during the night and by the end of the film their bond is as strong as ever.
Very quickly it becomes obvious that all is not as it should be as things start to move around the house and there are mysterious noises. That's pretty much it as far as the plot goes and the rest of the film is pretty much a game of cat and mouse between the couple and the 'strangers'. There is a cruel twist in the middle of the film that I won;t spoil for you but despite the fact this type of film has been done a million times before, I found it very jumpy which is quite rare for me.
There's another semi twist right at the end that shouldn't really be unexpected. This is by no means the best film I have ever seen, but it is far from the worst.