The Strangers

The Strangers

In Theatres: 
May 30, 2008
Running Time: 
1 Hour, 47 Minutes

Inspired by true events, The Strangers attempts to portray a psychological thriller the likes of Germany’s ils (Them) where a couple are terrorized by seen and unseen forces. Narration at the beginning of the film lets you know that no one really knows what happened in the Hoyt house that night which gives foundation to the belief that the filmmaker is pulling their idea’s out of a hat, a very bad hat.

The film marks the directorial debut of Bryan Bertino who also wrote the film. Bertino does very little to make his debut anything but typical for this type of film and a lot of what you do see seems borrowed yet unconvincing even in a more advanced day and age for film. The Strangers is a slow and often boring imagining of what went on at the Hoyt house peppered with sudden appearances of masked characters and accelerated orchestrations the likes we’ve seen so often in horror films. Most of the film is created to evoke psychological fear but again performed in a recycled manner that eventually equals out to being simply annoying. Worst yet is that the characters are so clichéd. I could not help but lean to the person on my left and whisper, “These have got to be the stupidest victims I’ve ever seen.” It gets that bad.

The central characters of the film are Scott Speedman and Liv Tyler. Speedman does a decent enough job but there isn’t really much to work with. It was Tyler’s performance that was muddled the most with the usual horror movie follies to make her character completely unsympathetic and to make matters worse 95% of her dialogue she performs in a whisper. The antagonists in the film are just as silent and their movements are over dramatized. I hated just about everything this film threw at me. There were some creepy parts, mostly when old records are playing in the background, but the fear the film will cause will have more to do with the fact that a sequel is hinted at. If you have to see a suspenseful horror film I would suggest ils (Them), also based on a true story, and wait for this one to come to television.

AJ Garcia
Review by AJ Garcia
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