Ok, before I get into the review I need to make one statement. Contrary to legend, and basically internet chatter, The Strangers is not a true story. It was however inspired by a couple of real life events. The first of course being the Manson Family Murders, and a rash of home invasions that happened in director Bryan Bertino’s neighbor back when he was a kid. Adding to the fact that this is a home invasion movie, and saying its based on true events does wonders to add realism and fright to the general tone.
The Stanger’s stars Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman as James and Kristen. Having traveled for a wedding they are staying at James summer home, which is pretty far out in the country. There not on the best of terms as Kristen has just turned down James’s marriage proposal. To make matters worse someone knock on there door around 4:00am asking if “Tamara” is home. You cant really make out her face as she is holding it down and right in front of the light. They tell here wrong house and she just says “See you later” James leaves to get a pack of smokes, leaving Kristen alone for a short while. During this time Kristen realizes the chimney is smoking and her alarm is going off. She decides to hide in the bedroom for a second and comes out to find the alarm is now in her chair. She hears a noise, opens her curtains and sees someone in a sack head mask starring at her.
As she’s hiding James returns home, and while Kristen is explaining what happens his car is vandalized he looks out to see the girl who knocked don the door originally now starring from across the street. Unable to leave the film turns into a claustrophobic game of basically pure stalking as opposed to the traditional cat and mouse conflicts were are used to seeing. The film is much more a thriller than the typical slasher. Low on blood, but high on jump scares and driven by pure suspense the film became not only a commercial success but a cult hit as well. Made on a shoestring budget of 9 million the film went on the make more than 80 million The film is paced frantically yet methodically which is not something you see in most horror films. The film does not waste time in terms of set up. We meet the couple, go to the house, and bam the stalking begins.
The acting and chemistry from Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman is fantastic, as they are basically the only 2 characters who have speaking parts. They have to carry the entire film based on their emotions, and they portray them to perfection.. Director Bryan Bertino knows how to get everything possible out of them while still keeping all the elements and surrounds believable. Never once does the film get hokey to where it seems far fetched. This really and truly looks and feels real, and will evoke genuine moments of terror in you while watching.
The fine folks over at Scream Factory are bringing this to a special edition 2 disc Blu-ray set. The transfer, as always looks phenomenal and this one comes loaded with special features
Overall 3 out of 5 Stars