Strangers (2008)
Directed by Bryan Bertino

Starring Liv Tyler Scott Speedman

A pretty depressing -- but suspenseful -- little horror movie, "The Strangers" bears more than a passing resemblance to "Them", the French horror film about a couple in a secluded house who are stalked by mysterious, almost supernatural tormenters.

But while "Them" ends with an interesting twist ending -- we learn who the tormenters are and what gave them their seeming supernatural power -- "The Strangers" just kinda ends, on a down note for sure. And it's not really clear how the film's attackers managed to be so damn Boogeyman-like.

The film opens with Liv Tyler and lover Scott Speedman at odds over a rejected engagement ring he purchased for her. Staying at his father's very secluded mountain cabin, they suddenly start receiving mysterious knocks on the front door at 4 in the morning. At first, a girl is there asking for someone neither of them has ever heard of. Later, the knocks grow louder, and mysterious masked "strangers" begin appearing inside and outside the residence.

Naturally, the film has to set things up regarding the couples' cell phones -- one of which is destroyed by the attackers, the other stolen. At this point, things start getting out of hand. A ton of false scares later, the couple manage to locate a shotgun, then bullets, but manage to accidentally kill a friend who had swung by.

First the good: "The Strangers" is really effectively directed and genuinely scary during its middle half. The assailants are very "Halloween." As we all know from the poster, one is in a scarecrow mask -- very scary stuff.

But, unlike "Them," there is no explanation as to who these assailants are -- and how they manage to disappear and reappear so mysteriously. Would real psycho thrill seekers behave this way, especially against a couple armed with a shotgun? Boogey men would -- but you have to explain why they're boogey men. "Them" did that. "The Strangers" does not.

And while some fans will point to this film as being "unique," it isn't. It came out after "Them" -- and the film's are beyond similar.

Still, Bertino is a good director and it will be interesting to see what stuff he comes up with next. Tyler also did well as the film's chief screamer.

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-- Review by Lucius Gore

USER COMMENTS

Posted by Kay on May 31, 2008
this movie is the scariest movie i ever seen this was the first scary movie i seen where i couldn't even eat POPCORN!!!! still i want to see it again!!


Posted by Dee on May 31, 2008
I think that was the scariest movie I saw so far, I wasn't able to eat my popcorn.


Posted by Andrew on May 31, 2008
I didn't find Them to be scary at all really, and when they left the house, it destroyed all of its tension. However, The Strangers scared the piss out of me,which a movie hasn't really been able to do since The Descent. I find this movie to be much more superior over Them.


Posted by horrorfan on June 3, 2008
Agree with the reviewer. It was not as good as "Them" but still pretty good.


Posted by on June 5, 2008
I really want more of these kind of movies to come out in theaters. cause the asian remakes are really making me mad.


Posted by kyllswich on June 7, 2008
not every great horror flick has to tell the "complete" story...the fact that these beings exist at all is scary unto itself...in the original HALLOWEEN, it was never completely told why michael killed his sister. we knew very little about him. that made the movie really scary.


Posted by Alan on June 8, 2008
I'm going to have to agree with mostly everyone who has left a comment... I've watched many horror films, and I don't think any one of those movies has scared me like this one. It was genuinely fun to watch, and that's what I liked about it. I'd like to know what happens after the ending, and especially to those two boys (I believe we remember the opening sequence with the 911 call and the boy claiming to be in danger). But I think it's that whole mystique which really made the movie enjoyable. It isn't for everyone, but it managed to mix gore and suspense really well. It had an apparent lack of story, but unlike films like Saw, and Hostel, the movie was able to make you scared or uncomfortable without having to go to great lengths to be violent or brutal... Although it did so effectively; whenever it had to.


Posted by chochina on June 20, 2008
This flick was alright in the first half, but after a while it got boring. This movie is not scary, no good in the least.


Posted by on September 18, 2008
good movie but did anyone get the strangers intentions? and what about the school boys? do they know about the strangers and their intentions?


Posted by ace69121 on October 22, 2008
I'm a huge horror movie fan of 36 yrs. and I thought this movie was really slow in the beginning and hella creepy in the middle but w.t.f.? The ending sucked, that's what I think anyways!


Posted by mandrakexxx on March 9, 2009
I don't think they were schoolboys, more like jehovah's witnesses that happened upon the crime scene in its aftermath...


Posted by caulyy on April 4, 2009
sooo good and really jumpy. can't wait for the sequel


Posted by PhantomClone·InX on October 10, 2009
This movie was awesome! Scary, bleak, and suspenseful all the way through. The Strangers is one of the best American horror films in recent years. Hopefully the sequel will be scary as well.


Posted by Spunker on October 28, 2009
this move sucked.. i can't believe something like this actually scared you people! "Them" was much better, although it also wasn't very good at all. There were so many ways out of all of the situations happening in this movie, and both main characters couldn;t see that which is rediculous. Everything that happened was predictable, and stupid. This is simply just a cliche style horror movie. Nothing original. Nothing scary. Nothing suspenseful. No twists. No intense climax. Just stupid fucking nonsense. It isn't hard to get rid of 3 people harrassing you if you have the rifle. They made it seem like they were fuckin ghosts or somthing which is very stupid. And there is no story behind anything. i guess all of you who thought this was scary and suspenseful havnt seen a good horror movie in their lives, and get scared more easily than my mom. Grow up! Doesnt anyone see what horrible movies they are making 2day? am i completely alone in this world of horrible remakes and awful cliche horror movies wth horrible camera work, storytelling, and acting? Fuck this movie big time! i'd rate it 1 out of 1,000,000.


Posted by Spunker on October 28, 2009
oh and the mask thing isn't scary anymore. It's silly. Unless that is, that there is something original behind the masks or a story behind why the masks are being worn. So yeah. Silly as fuck.


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