Newest Review: ... 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 sur... more
Not the nicest of neighbours to have!
The Strangers (DVD)
Member Name: charlie1979
The Strangers (DVD)
Advantages: Has the basics of a good horror
Disadvantages: Not scary enough!
The Strangers was released in 2008 and was written and directed by Bryan Bertino. This film had quite a lot of hype when it was released and I enjoy a good scary horror so was really looking forward to seeing this one. I must confess that I am a bit of a wimp when it comes to masks and anything that is clown or doll related when it comes to horror films so I was expecting to be scared witless by this film! My anticipation was short lived though as I found the film very disappointing!
The film follows the couple James Hoyt (Scott Speedman) and Kristen McKay (Liv Tyler) starting fro when they arrive at James' fathers house where they plan to stay after attending a friends wedding reception. The scene is glum and there is definite tension between the couple as James decided to propose to Kristen at the reception but she declined. It is the middle of the night and the house is in the middle of no where when they hear a knock at the door. A young woman is at the door asking for someone whom the couple have never heard of, the girl leaves and the couple find it strange but don't really think much more of it.
Kristen runs out of cigarettes and James says he could do with a drive so he offers to pick some up for her. Once Kristen is home alone there is more knocking at the door, without opening it she recognises the voice being that of the girls who visited earlier looking for her friend. Kristen becomes uncomfortable being in the house on her own and as the tension builds you catch a glimpse of a man in the background wearing a hooded mask. Cue the first moment of the film that will make you jump out of your skin! Unfortunately what happens to make you jump is the only moment in the film that does so once you have recovered be rest assured that your heart rate will remain pretty steady!
Kristen begins to realise that she is not alone in the house and is relieved when James returns home safely. It soon becomes apparent that there are three masked intruders either in the house or in the surrounding grounds, one man and two women. The masks are quite disturbing but the fear factor soon wears off in the film. Masks seem to be used in many horror films now to add to the tension as you cannot see the emotions or expressions of the masked invaders. There is nothing scary about these masked people thought, only the fact that one of them has an axe!
The couple soon realise that whoever these three people are they are certainly out to torture and kill them, for what reason the have no idea! The first half hour of the film works well and the tension is built up and the scene set for a truly terrifying experience. However once the first scary moment has passed the tension seems to dissipate and the film becomes very predictable. For me a horror has only been a success if I am sat rigid throughout the whole film and even forget to breath in places! I like to be scared senseless! This film certainly did not deliver on this front!
The film is far too drawn out. The director tries to build up the terror by making you think that one of the masked people is going to attack but then they pull back and I found this to be just plain frustrating after a while! Many parts of the film are a bit like a pantomime where the viewer can see the masked invaders creeping around the house but the victims cannot see them, me and my friend ended up shouting 'he's behind you' on more than one occasion and laughing out loud! It did get a bit silly!
The director has made an obvious effort and has all the right components of a good horror film:
1. Masked men
2. Young couple in love soon to be torn apart
3. Swing in the garden swinging with no child on it!
4. An axe
5. Loud sound effects
6. Victim hiding in cupboard or under bed
7. It all happens at night!
8. Lots of blood shed
9. A shotgun to hand
All the ingredients are there for a great horror recipe but whether it is the wrong quantities of each or it was overcooked, it just doesn't work in this film! The ending is terrible and I won't give it away but it leaves you feeling very empty and disappointed! If you are looking for a good horror I would give this one a miss, I think Watership Down was more disturbing!
Summary: Don't go out of your way to watch this one!