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Movie rating system (0-2) The movie is balls (2-4) A few moments but mostly bad (4-5.5) Entertaining film but lacking something to make it good. (6-7.5) A recommendation meaning a good solid watch. (8-10) must watch films, they are usually leaders in their respective genre. I can also be found on Facebook or follow my blog at the bottom of this page. THERE MAY BE MINI SPOILERS AHEAD!!! But there will be no endings/twists/cameos/or large plot reveals given.

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Thursday, 12 July 2012

The Strangers

The Strangers

Action (Horror)
Rated: R
Running Time: 88 minutes
Starring: Liv Tyler, Scott Speedman
Directed By: Bryan Bertino
Rating: 6.5 out of 10


A couple is at an isolated vacation house when they are scared by people running around outside.

It pains me to think when you Google the Strangers, Urban Dictionary will pop up before my review. I love these types of movies because they pride themselves on being inspired by true events. That is like saying E. T. is a documentary. If you watch this film you will realize how funny and misleading this statement truly is. Has a couple in real life been terrorized in their house before? the answer is undoubtedly yes. Has a couple in real life been terrorized like they were in this film before? undoubtedly the answer is no. The Strangers is the story of James and Kristen. They are spending the evening at James parent’s vacation home. They are isolated in this house when they realize they may not be as alone as one would hope.

There are two sides to this movie. The first side is the terrible back story and lousy interactions between James and Kristen. The second side is the terror this movie instills as it slowly plods along. For me the suspense won out so I enjoyed this film even though I hated the characters. The film starts off with the arrival of James and Kristen at the vacation house. You quickly realize two things. One is how isolated this place is and it is just a terrible location to be trapped in. The second thing is how much you will dislike James and Kristen. Having to be forced to sit through mind numbing dialogue and unwanted back story makes this film get off to a poor start. A knock at the door changes all that monotony. A creepy exchange with a girl at the wrong address sets the tone and the theme for a mostly thrilling movie.

Scott Speedman playing James gives a mixed performance. He is convincing when scared but below average when upset or agitated. Liv Tyler playing his girlfriend Kristen is basically the same. She drives the film during the scary parts but is dreadful during the downtime. The two of them together is downright painful. They have zero chemistry with each other so when things get crazy the story is unconvincing. They are so unconvincing I am surprised it didn’t degenerate into an everyman for himself game of survival. I would have cast completely different people or at least change one of them for better effect.

The film while not entirely original does a nice job of mixing differing degrees of frights. The director uses a nice blend of loud knocks and sounds combined with subtle hints of rising terror. Although the bad guys in the film have the uncanny ability to be everywhere at once it doesn’t go super overboard with it. Truly the best part of the film is glimpsing these masked monsters. The slow build up of what are the bad guys going to do next to terrorize this couple. Is coupled perfectly with creepy glimpses of the tormentors in what looks like twisted Batman inspired masks. The bad guys take their sweet time with the torment and that is what made this movie work for me.

Director and writer Bryan Bertino does a decent job in his film debut. He uses a great blend of slow rising tension and succeeds in delivering great shots of the bad guys in action. He gets his vision across of the couples despair and that is all you can ask. Certainly the buildup in the middle of the film is better than the start or conclusion so a more evenly paced film would have had an easier flow. The dialogue was also spotty for the most part and the casting far from great, yet never the less he does a fine job in making this movie into a decent finished product.

I give this movie my recommendation especially to those people looking for frights without excessive blood and guts. It also will tell you not to have a working record player in isolated locations because it can be traumatizing.

T Factor + If you like thrillers more than slasher films then this could score higher on the rating scale.

T Factor – If you are all about the big payoff killing scenes with your horror this could score less on the rating scale.

If you liked this film reel recommendations: Vacancy, Joy Ride      

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