The Strangers (2008)

strangers poster 2008 movie
6.0 Overall Score
Story: 5/10
Acting: 6/10
Visuals: 8/10

Some nice creepy visuals

Feels like a remake of Ils, poor plotting

Movie Info

Movie Name:  The Strangers

Studio:  Vertigo Entertainment

Genre(s):  Horror

Release Date(s):  May 30, 2008

MPAA Rating:  R

strangers-girl-watching-house-is-tamara-here

Is Tamara there?

Kristen McKay (Liv Tyler) and James Hoyt (Scott Speedman) are a couple having a rough night.  A romantic night planned by James has gone sour after Kristen turned down his wedding proposal…unfortunately, this is the best part of their evening.  When a strange girl comes to the door looking for someone named “Tamara”, it is the first of a series of events which will lead to a night of hell.  Kristen and James are being stalked by killers who have surrounded their isolated home and seem to have no motive.  As the horror mounts, mistakes are made, and lives will be lost…will Kristen and James survive the night?

strangers-scarecrow-killer-hooded

I just wanted a role in Batman Begins…

Written and directed by Bryan Bertino, The Strangers is played out as a “true events” film though the actual reality of this is very minor.  The relatively low budget film had a big box office return and received mixed reviews from critics.

I liked aspects of The Strangers, but didn’t love The Strangers.  The idea of being watched in your own home is terrifying, but the movie seemed to lack any plans after this story.  With a weird framework, The Strangers missed a lot of opportunities.

strangers-youre-gonna-die-masked-killer

You’re gonna die…

First I think it should be said that The Strangers doesn’t feel very original.  Bertino says the “real events” aspect of his story was from childhood and break-ins that occurred in his neighborhood.  I however feel that The Strangers feels like a complete rip-off of the 2006 French film Ils (aka Them) which had a husband and wife trapped in a home in remote France, tortured by children in the woods who seem to only want to kill (and also claimed to be based on “real events”)…yet, not many people compared Ils to The Strangers which I found odd.

strangers-liv-tyler-lives-ending

No…I swear I’ve never seen Ils!!!

The next problem with the plot for The Strangers is the framework.  The film opens with a line saying that authorities will never know what happened in a home as children find bodies.  That pretty much lends to the idea that everyone is going to die…ending any suspense.  The very end of the film flips it by having Liv Tyler survive which means she’s crazy and can’t talk, or they just had poor writing.

The cast is average.  Liv Tyler is pretty much the lead in the film with Scott Speedman playing second fiddle to her through most of the movie.  I can’t fault the actors for the writing, but I find their characters incredibly stupid and bringing a lot of stuff upon themselves.  I will say that the killers from the story are quite creepy and smartly underplayed.

strangers-killers-in-the-house

So, not going to invite us in?

The visuals from the movie are also pretty good.  Shots of characters watching from the darkness and visuals of the main characters not seeing the masked intruders pepper the film and create a lot of tense moments.  The movie goes for easy jumps, and I wish that it had been smarter.

The Strangers isn’t a bad film, but it isn’t a good film either.  I still fault it for being a proclaimed “original” film when it seems to be an obvious remake to me.  With some poor writing but great visuals, The Strangers leaves me a bit torn.  A sequel to The Strangers was finally released called The Strangers:  Prey at Night in 2018, but the film was not as well received.

Related Links:

The Strangers:  Prey at Night (2018)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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