Friday, March 25, 2011

The Strangers (2008)

***(out of four stars)

"You can poison my cat
Baby I don't care
But if you talk in the movies
I'll kill you right there"

Excerpt from an Alice Cooper song.

Yeah so I was sitting in a movie theatre right in front of a bunch of loud mouth young kids. It's bad enough tickets are $10.75, not to mention by the time you get yourself some popcorn and a large drink (for just a quarter more) you've spent over $20. Yeah, twenty bucks to listen to a bunch of kids talking about how gay the movie is. It seems as though maybe your mommy is paying for your tickets or maybe you just don't have common decency for others, but goddamn shut the fuck up. The usher was called in twice, interrupted the film and warned these pompous little assholes. They finally shut up and for the rest of the time the chattering was minimal. So for all you movie goers who want to hold a conversation while others are trying to enjoy a film you get a solid kick in the butt hole.

That aside, here's a review for THE STRANGERS.

Director Bryan Bertino has called this style of film not a horror but a terror film. I can't agree more.

The film starts out in a car waiting at a red light. Inside, are Kristen McKay (Liv Tyler) and her boyfriend James Hoyt (Scott Speedman). The two are coming from a friends wedding and they seem to be distant from each other. They eventually end up at James father's secluded getaway home. Once inside the home we see the makings of a romantic getaway. All is pretty quiet for the first 15 minutes of the film. We eventually learn from flashbacks that James attempted to ask his lovely lady for her hand in marriage. Well, we also learn by the somber tone of the relationship that she had declined his offer. The two act as though this is the end of the world and possibly their relationship.

At one point they are talking of splitting up, while moments later James is pulling her panties down and well, you know the rest.

Then just as they start the loving making process they get a knock on the front door. Both are startled, realizing it's four in the morning. When the haunting voice of a women asks if "Tamara" is home things begin to pick up.

Kristen runs out of cigarettes and James decides it's best that he gets out of the house for a while. Once he's out of the house, leaving Kristen alone, the knocking starts again. This follows a long process of three masks intruders stalking the couple for the rest of the film.

I liked this film for a number of reasons. The acting was on point and the total feel of the film is isolated. I like the fact that we spend the most time with two characters who try to evade the clutches of the strangers. The film takes you to a place not only of entertainment but the knowledge that this situation can happen to anyone.

The three strangers in this film have numerous opportunities to strike. It's a psychological thriller in the fact that we know eventually they will get their victims, but we don't really know when or how. It's a simple cat and mouse game where our villains have total control the entire time.

Obviously this film was somewhat inspired by the Manson murders of the late 60's. If you're looking for a happy ending you won't find one in this film. In fact, we know by the end of the film that the strangers plan on striking again. And is it safe to say that they actually have fun doing it? I guess it is.

Starring: Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman

Dir: Bryan Bertino


Runtime: 88 mins

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