August 22, 2008

Review: The Strangers (2008)

In Attendance- Me, Karrie and Dave
Cast Members of Note- Liv Tyler, Scott Speedman, and the ever lovely Gemma Ward.

Scott Speedman and Liv Tyler play a troubled couple who spend the night at his country house after attending a wedding reception. After a proposal gone wrong, things only get worse as a 4 A.M. knock at the door changes their lives forever. (Here's a hint, the people knocking are strangers.) Thuse begins a game of cat-and-mouse between three masked strangers and the innocent couple, including, but not limited to: hide-and-seek; "Where's Tamara?"; shotgun tag; and Yahtzee. (The Yahtzee scene was mysteriously absent from the theatrical print of the movie.)

This game is called "Crawl for your Life."
Instead of locking themselves in a room with a shotgun (and the 30 f'ing shells that are laying at their feet), the couple makes runs for it, tries to radio for help, tries to drive away, and essentially does everything else wrong. Do they escape? Do they live or die? I won't ruin the ending for you here, but it's enough that you know that The Mormons show up before all is said and done, to deliver their own brand of justice! The Mormon God kind!

No God.
This movie managed to get it mostly right, despite it having some minor flaws. This is the first time in a long time that an American Horror flick actually had me on the edge of my seat. Granted, the tension lapsed in a few places, but overall it thoroughly creeped me out. It was a brilliant move to not only have the killers masked, but to have them speak very little, and to keep their motivations ambiguous. Could this scenario actually happen in most rural settings? Yes it could, and that's what makes it terrifying.

Pants were shat.
And for the record: The Strangers is in no way a remake or rip-off of Them (Ils), and it didn't remind me of Funny Games in the least. I've been hearing those comparisons around the Internets, and they're just not true. The similarities between this movie and Them (Ils) are there, but it's a different story altogether. As for Funny Games, well it shouldn't even be mentioned alongside of this movie.

Liv Tyler was about as good in this one as she usually is in anything, and I actually believed that she was terrified. I find it interesting that Gemma Ward was one of The Strangers; I had just seen her in a movie called The Red Balloon, and remembering how sweet and hot she was in that made her turn as Dollface that much more creepy.

For the record, they were all creepy.
I understand that people do stupid things under duress sometimes, but if masked strangers were stalking me in the middle of the night, and moving in and out of my house at their whim, here's why I'd survive: I'd lock myself in a room, put my back against the wall with my fully-loaded shotgun, and dare them to come closer. That's just me though.

Also, could the friend that showed up halfway through the movie not have called out for someone? Ugh.

The arrival of daylight doesn't mean you're safe anymore.

This one is more psychological than visceral, but we did get to see a few acts of violence (which I won't spoil here), some of which got pretty bloody.

How cute. She's trying to escape.
No, and I'm mad about it. We get to see Liv in her skivvies, and in the tub, but neither she nor Gemma got naked. Given the subject matter, I guess that was a smart move of the Producer's part, but still. Sigh. At least we didn't have to see Scott Speedman's ass. That's something.

You couldn't have stood up for like, 20 seconds?
"Because you were home" or "Sometimes" or "It'll be easier next time."

Don't ever trust attractive Actors, because they will put masks on and try their best to kill you.

In some ways, this movie deserves a solid an A-grade; unfortunately for the overall product, its flaws (as small as they may be) keep it just this side of being a classic. Still, it's a good, creepy time, and its definitely worthy of you adding it to your collection.


The Strangers is available now on Blu-ray, DVD, and VOD.

Gemma Ward looks really good without a mask. Also, something about Liv Tyler.



  1. I meant to see this in theaters, but never got the chance to, sadly. I am Netflixing it, though, so I should see it soon enough.

    I hear great things about this movie, and all of the previews piqued my interest enough for me to bump it to the "Must See" list.

    Oh, and by the way, Gemma can be my stranger any day. Giggidy.

  2. I absolutely love your review of The Strangers! Its dead on!

    I personally absolutely love The Strangers! I saw it at a free screening and even though 2 girls got into a fight a yelled throughout 20 minutes of this 1 hour and a half movie it didn't ruin it for me at all.

    I can't believe those are the actors who were playing "The Man in the Mask, Pin Up Girl and Doll Face"

    So I was going to show this pretty good movie to my friends and it skipped right over the scene when their friend walks up to the room they are in... you know the pretty cool/semi-important scene I am talking about. It sucked but they still thought it was pretty good.

  3. this movie is truly amazing and your blog was amazing
    however when their friend came it made sense that he didnt say anything becase he obviously noticed something was wrong and didnt want to attract unwanted attention however it made it obvious what was going to happen to him
    and i woulda done the same as u and they did to until they killed that guy then they were screwed

  4. I realy didn't like The Strangers. It was fine, and all, but it was so boring, at parts. I usually get very scared during horror flicks, but this just totally didn't faze me.

    1. Thank you, this movie was so slow and drawn out with stupidity

  5. I thought this was a fantastic movie. I love all genres of horror movies, B-rated slashers being near the top. A movie that is nonstop gore will have me giddy beyond belief. But I have to say, the ones that freak me out are relatively bloodless. Anticipation plays a huge factor in placing a movie at the top of my list. The longer you make me wait, the better.
    The Strangers had me almost yelling out for something to happen. I thought this movie combined the perfect amount of suspense and violence.

    I also think that watching this with surround sound is a must!! The sound that accompanied many of the scenes was nothing but a resonance that I could actually feel from my sub woofer. This coupled with the many sudden outbursts that were used to break the tension (the sound wave generated by these hit me like a shot of air), combined to generally freak me the hell out!

    The sounds from this movie were such that my wife decided to come downstairs half way through to investigate. The timing on this could not have been better (or worse), as I was wound like a spring and awaiting the climax of one of the scenes. When she announced her presence she was about three feet behind me (it was pitch dark in the room), and I came off the couch by a foot screaming like a girl. I was so shaken I had to pause the movie and come back to it. After calming down and berating my wife for sneaking up on me, I finished watching the movie with the lights on.

    Even if you don't have surround sound or someone else in the house to scare the hell out of you, this is a great movie.

  6. I agree with what you just said Gunkie... loved it.

  7. Gemma ward is a hottie. No doubt about that