We had some fantastic comments on our last survival horror Face-Off
. It seemed that ya'll had a good time reading through it and that's what makes it all worthwhile. And everyone agreed that THE HILLS HAVE EYES remake would easily best WOLF CREEK. Killer.
Today, we are calling up a Face-Off inspired by this summer's upcoming horror offering, THE PURGE, which between you, me, and the wall looks like a fun, freaky ride! So, when I think of the whole home-invasion horror sub genre, these are the two top-notch bastards that instantly come to mind. And if you don't like it, run home and lock your doors! Because you're about to be invaded by INSIDE Vs. THE STRANGERS!
You immediately feel bad for Sarah within the film's first five minutes. She's pregnant, just got into a car accident that killed the father of her child, and is now all alone on Christmas Eve. A perfect person to become the victim of a psychotic home invader, wouldn't you say? However, despite her delicate physical status, she still puts up an amazingly resilient fight against a seemingly unstoppable menace. Perhaps it was pregnancy strength?
The interesting thing about James and Kristen is they are a recently broke-up couple sort of looking for a means to get back together. Boy, do they ever get it once the three titular characters make their grand appearance. However, they are constantly outsmarted by the Strangers and even when you think they have the upper hand, upon finding a shot gun, they end up accidentally shooting one of their friends instead!
Relentless is the ideal term for describing The Woman that comes knocking at Sarah's door. Her reason for invading, which we don't find out till the end, does give a somewhat understandable meaning to her efforts, however it ain't an excuse. Her outbursts of violence and madness is incredibly (and bizarrely) balanced by eerily maternal undertones, making her the perfect paradox of a stalker.
These Strangers are sick, psychotic, and worst of all, patient. They play torturous games with their victims' minds and attempt to freak them out at every possible turn. Then, after their frightful cat and mouse games, they unleash a storm of violence upon their prey with a plethora of sharp objects. And what truly makes their acts oh so heinous? They only committed these random acts of evil "because you were home."
There's a scene at the beginning that somewhat pays homage to a scene towards the end of Halloween. Sarah is drifting in and out of slumber on the couch as a blurry shape appears in the darkness behind her. Trust me, it's chilling. And when The Woman creeps into Sarah's bedroom with a huge pair of scissors and pulls her nightshirt up, revealing her pregnant tummy, it gives new meaning to squirming in your seat!
Liv Tyler is alone in the kitchen with her back turned toward the hallway leading to the front door. Suddenly, a gentleman in a mask slowly and casually steps out from the hallway and just... stands there... staring at Liv. It was so unexpected and so subtle and yet, so damn horrifying. That right there is a master class example in scary movie making. Plus from that point on, any time the creepy Strangers' masks pop onto the screen is cause for a change of underpants.
It is shocking the amount of visceral damage The Woman can do with a little determination. From scissor stabs to gun shot blasts, gorgeously gut-wrenching gushes of grue are spurt all over the place. Not to mention a horrific needle impaling and a fiery explosion that results in one grossly burnt face that would give Nolan's Two-Face a run for his money. For such an intimate setting, the gore in this movie rivals many other top entries in horror.
For a mainstream R-rated horror flick, The Strangers is surprisingly not as graphic as one would expect. That's not to say that the red stuff doesn't flow. There's a sweet gunshot blast to the head. From there, the worst of the visceral damage gets done to... Spoiler Alert... Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman. It's harsh, extensive, and surprising. You truly don't expect these Strangers to unload on the poor couple in a manner so violent. Oh, but they certainly do.
Dear Lord, I still get goosebumps whenever I think about The Woman's first attempt to extract what's "Inside" Sarah. I have a big issue with bellybutton damage and, wouldn't ya know it, The Woman sticks the tip of the scissors right into Sarah's button and presses down, causing blood to spurt forth. That do anything for ya? If not, how about Sarah inadvertently killing her own mother upon mistaking her for The Woman? Shock is the ace up this movie's sleeve.
The masked man is holding an axe and creeping up behind Scott and Liv's friend. Cut to Scott and Liv patiently waiting with a shot gun aimed. Then... boom! the gun is fired... and the friend is dead! The hopeless reaction that follows from the scared couple is also a bit of a shock. Upon reaching the finale, we truly hope for a chance that Liv and Scott will be spared... Not so much! The Strangers viciously stab away on the bound, unarmed couple with zero remorse. Ouch.
Well, let's hear it for the little indie, foreign slasher that could! Subtitles and dubbing be damned! Inside has invaded The Strangers' territory and taken them out! Does that make you feel happily safe and secure? Or do you feel the Strangers deserve to be the kings of home invasion horror? Please, kindly spit them mutha-f*ckin bullets below and let me know! And feel free to send any future Face-Off ideas to me at firstname.lastname@example.org