#1  
Old 10-27-2008, 08:50 PM
The Strangers



After returning from a wedding reception, a couple staying in an isolated vacation house receive a knock on the door in the mid-hours of the night. What ensues is a violent invasion by three strangers, their faces hidden behind masks. The couple find themselves in a violent struggle, in which they go beyond what either of them thought capable in order to survive.

I was doubtful yet excited to see this movie. In the end, this movie doesn't really do it for me. It's just really disappointing because the trailer for the film makes it to be something much more thrilling and suspenseful. I found the pacing to be so slow that this movie bored me to tears. I found the tone of the film to be so dull that there were barely any scares to keep me interested. I found the atmosphere of the movie to be so boring and quiet that--you get what I mean.

Some clichés are still here, although not a lot. The strangers are like fast traveling ghosts who can appear in a scene and disappear in a split second. Yeah, that annoyed me quite a bit. However, I feel sympathy towards the protagonists. This film has much better character development than most. Let me add this: Barely anything happens in this hour and a half film. That's the biggest complaint coming from me. Yeah, I'm exaggerating but, I kid you not, the ball does not get rolling in this movie at all.

What did I like about the movie? Probably the first thirty or so minutes. Why? It was promising. That's until I realized right after that, the plot went nowhere. Seriously, think of the strangers banging and messing the protagonist's minds for the first half of the film. In the next half, think of people running, hiding, screaming...the movie was spinning its wheels after that.

What I hope would be an at least decent, scary film turned out to be so boring and uninteresting that I was disappointed. The performances were decent, at best. Overall, this film is not worth your time. Horror fans may be severely disappointed and the film is just not suspenseful nor scary. The best you can get out of this movie is its trailer. 5/10
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  #2  
Old 11-01-2008, 02:03 AM
I thought it started out pretty creepy, and it was engaging enough at first to hold my interest. I have to agree, though, that it's just a little too stripped down for it's own good.

For example ***mild spoilers***, how many times have we seen the phone line going dead and the female protagonist crying out? The strangers themselves are suitably eerie, and they only seem to be operating on the rule that they have to disappear after they get spotted once and the camera pans back.

Good things I can say about it--it's shot well. The acting from Tyler & Speedman is decent but nothing outstanding. The flick is dragged down from trying to build up the tension and scares, unfortunately. The whole thing is just kind of average.

6/10
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  #3  
Old 11-02-2008, 09:42 AM
I have never minded these type of domestic horror films, and sometimes I think a more bare-bones approach to horror can be very effective. In many ways the original "Halloween" followed this style more than it did the usual "slasher" fare, and in a horror sense, it can be overwhelmingly effective. This reality is what drove me to have an interest in "The Strangers", a small, one setting film with a limited cast (there are only about 8 actors in the entire film, and 3 of them are on screen for under 10 minutes) and only one well-established star (Liv Tyler).
The film relates the story of a couple who have just returned from the wedding reception (Scott Speedman and Liv Tyler) to a vacation home, and who are rather tense after the male protagonist's own marriage proposal plan did not get the response he desired from his love interest. Shortly after arriving at their getaway residence, a group of masked home intruders (two in feminine masks and one looking like a distant cousin of the "Batman Begins" incarnation of Scarecrow) begin to terrorize the stranded couple.
There is no doubt the film has frightening moments; despite the ridiculous appearance of the masks the film villains are adorned with, the three domestic terrorists sell their performances in a way that brings a horrific feel to them. Through most of the movie, they do not aggressively attempt to physically harm the couple, choosing instead to horrify them on a psychological level. They bang at windows and doors. They cut their communication. They dupe them into hurting innocent people. They break them down, in a sense.
And in this horrifying truth, lies one of my problems with the film; their mental games in the film wear thin at times and become repetitive as the film progresses. Is the idea of 3 strangers wanting nothing more but to scar my psyche a horrifying premise? Yes, but as this continues, the villains seem less like mortal threats, and more like pestering assholes. Neither are fun, but one is much less menacing. The climax of the film definitely verifies that the three are an ominous trio, but pacing could have definitely used some work.
With that said, I enjoyed the tone of the film. The basic concept of the film has definitely been used before, but it definitely brought a fresh feel to it. And ultimately, it was creepy to me, and that is such a rarity in horror these days that I will gladly applaud any film that can still pull that off.

7/10
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  #4  
Old 11-02-2008, 03:48 PM
I HATED, HATED, HATED this movie. One of the worst movies of 2008 as far as I'm concerned. It was boring and stupid. Not to mention riddled with so many unintentionally funny moments throughout. And it just ends and is fairly anticlimatic. Liv Tyler and Simon Baker are decent actors but they have nothing to work with here. They also don't have much in the way of chemistry either. There is one scene that actually managed to shock and surprise me. And one jump scene that actually did it's job well enough. But the rest of the movie is dreary, dreadful, boring and stupid.

3/10
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