“Strangers” Than Fiction: Review for “The Strangers”

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In this world of people having sex whenever they want on TV (they now can, apparently, show butts) and where violence is treated with minimal concern, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that violent “terror” films, a new so-called sub-genre of horror, are being churned our like butter. These days, you can get a ripoff of Saw called Cut Me for only $7.50! Most of these horror films are low budget fare, like the After Dark Horrorfest: 8 Films to Die For. This time, again low budget, Bryan Bertino has made a film called The Strangers about a couple (Scott Speedman and Liv Tyler) who get terrorized by none other than strangers. The beginning (which to me, is most of the film) is amazingly slow paced and quiet. the film doesn’t even get suspenseful until the strangers actually start attacking. Scott Speedman, a virtually unknown actor, is really bad in this. His acting is amazingly wooden and enemotional; barely moving a muscle when approached by a masked intruder. Liv Tyler is not good, but far better than Speedman. This Elven wonder certainly can scream. The couple comes back to a cabin to stay for the night when a someone knocks on their door to ask for someone who doesn’t live there. Then they start attacking.  This film, with it’s violence and such, can be a conversation starter on the topic of “Is Horror Harmful?”. One should ask, “Is it?” But it depends on the film. The violence in this movie, thank God, doesn’t surpass the torture porn scenes in the Hostel and Saw franchises. It’s not as graphic. But then again, it’s not as good as, say, The Ring, which isn’t a film I would even call good. The suspense dwindles in your face but just doesn’t give you what you want. It feels just like the pretentious art that I imagine Michael Henke’s Funny Games would be. Only, this film, and the other, is not art. There is very little “terror” in the film, only people making loud sounds and screaming. With only a few real scares, this film is a total disappointment…and a bore.

Grade: C

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