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Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Strangers(2008)

The Strangers is one of those films that horror films have hated on since it came out, and I cannot fathom why? It is very scary and creepy, compact, no needless dialogue, and a hell of a fun ride. Although the filmmakers have denied that the film is a remake of the 2006 French film They, anyone who has seen the film, no that it is exactly that. There is nothing wrong with that, in fact, it is one of the better Americanized versions of a foreign horror film.

The film is about a young couple(Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman) who upon leaving a wedding/reception, go to an isolated country house for some relaxation. We notice from the beginning that there is some real tension between the two. We learn that James has just proposed to Kristen, and she has turned him down. The reason that she has given him of "not being ready", does not seem entirely true. The couple are getting into a deep discussion when there comes a knock at the door. The see a teenage girl at the door who is asking for Tamara. The couple explain that there is no such person at the residence and continue their discussion. Kristen sends James to the store for some cigarettes for herself, despite the fact that it is 4 a.m. As soon as he leaves, the knocks at the door begin again. Things are slammed against windows, and Kristen sees a hooded man outside the window. She calls James, and the phone dies inexplicably, she also notices that her cell phone has been stolen from the outlet in the wall. Concrete evidence that someone has been inside the house.

By the time that James arrives back, they see 3 different strangers lurking outside of the house, each in a different creepy mask. For the next few hours the two are attacked repeatedly, and are the victim of all kinds of mind games. There are several very well done scenes of extreme suspense, and there is very little gore in this film, it's not that kind of movie. Later in the film, James' brother shows up at the house but meets a grisly fate. The real fear in the film resides in the fact, that we do not know who the attackers are, or what their motives are either. The ending is slightly different in the two different version of the film. It is longer in the "extended" cut, but there is a hint of why Kristen wouldn't marry James in the theatrical version's ending. There is only a few seconds difference in the 2 versions of the film, so it doesn't really matter which one you watch.

If you are a fan of old school "suspense" horror, and not just "body count" films, I really think that you will enjoy this film. In fact, I felt a similar vibe in this film that reminded me of classics like "Wait Until Dark" and "The Spiral Staircase". If you want a creepy night at home with a nail-biter of a film, you could do a lot worse than The Strangers.

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