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Face-Off: Inside Vs. The Strangers

May. 27, 2013by: Mike Catalano
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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!

Home Owner
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!
Home Invader(s)
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."
Scares
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.
Gore
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.
Shocking Moment
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.
Inside
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 mikecatalano@joblo.com.

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1:41PM on 07/22/2013

No Contest Really...

Inside crushes The Strangers in every aspect and department.
Inside crushes The Strangers in every aspect and department.
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11:46PM on 05/27/2013

The scariest thing about THE STRANGERS was ...

... the initial teaser trailer for the film. Really well done and creepy. Made me want to see the movie. What a piece of shit.

INSIDE is awesome!
... the initial teaser trailer for the film. Really well done and creepy. Made me want to see the movie. What a piece of shit.

INSIDE is awesome!
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10:57PM on 05/27/2013
I agree with Timmyd that ''ILS'' would have been a better film to compare ''the Strangers'' too. Nice job on the comparison though Mike. Inside definitely hit me harder and deserves the win, although I can't say I disliked the Strangers as much as some of the people here.
I agree with Timmyd that ''ILS'' would have been a better film to compare ''the Strangers'' too. Nice job on the comparison though Mike. Inside definitely hit me harder and deserves the win, although I can't say I disliked the Strangers as much as some of the people here.
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+1
3:57PM on 05/27/2013
'' THE STRANGERS '' has more in common with '' ILS '' , than '' INSIDE '' . That being said , I wholeheartedly agree with your summation . '' INSIDE '' is one of my favorite Horror films , and my favorite Home invasion flick .
'' THE STRANGERS '' has more in common with '' ILS '' , than '' INSIDE '' . That being said , I wholeheartedly agree with your summation . '' INSIDE '' is one of my favorite Horror films , and my favorite Home invasion flick .
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1:51PM on 05/27/2013
The Strangers is probably the worst horror film I've ever seen. So yeah, good choice.
The Strangers is probably the worst horror film I've ever seen. So yeah, good choice.
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12:34PM on 05/27/2013
The Strangers is great Carpenter-esque terror right up until after D.E.N.N.I.S. gets it. After that, the characters stop making decisions you as a viewer can relate to and you practically start rooting for the villains. Totally crap third act.
The Strangers is great Carpenter-esque terror right up until after D.E.N.N.I.S. gets it. After that, the characters stop making decisions you as a viewer can relate to and you practically start rooting for the villains. Totally crap third act.
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12:00PM on 05/27/2013
I still haven't seen Inside but The Strangers is a really bad film. The whole movie relies on "Oh! They're standing in the background!" But, since the characters never know that they're there, there is no point for them to be standing around other than for audiences to go "They're behind you!" It's also incredible boring with really inconsistent pacing. In the hands of someone right, they could've done something really creepy with it..but they didn't.
I still haven't seen Inside but The Strangers is a really bad film. The whole movie relies on "Oh! They're standing in the background!" But, since the characters never know that they're there, there is no point for them to be standing around other than for audiences to go "They're behind you!" It's also incredible boring with really inconsistent pacing. In the hands of someone right, they could've done something really creepy with it..but they didn't.
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+3
8:33AM on 05/27/2013

Agreed

Never really thought of Inside and The Strangers as being all that similar but now that I think about it, at least in sub-genre, they are. I liked The Stranges way more than I expected to but Inside is terrifying and the needle is buried on the gore meter. Good call.
Never really thought of Inside and The Strangers as being all that similar but now that I think about it, at least in sub-genre, they are. I liked The Stranges way more than I expected to but Inside is terrifying and the needle is buried on the gore meter. Good call.
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