Thursday, November 18, 2010

Movie Review: The Strangers

A couple weeks after Halloween, my wife and I watched the recorded horror/thriller flick "The Strangers". Simple premise; a young couple spends a night in a remote summer home terrorized by strangers for no identifiable reason. We have a theory now with horror movies: the movies show leads making dumb decisions or doing dumb things in obviously dangerous situations to make you the viewer feel smarter. The Strangers is full of moments that will have you discussing strategy and cursing the characters.

The movie has a great mood. I loved the tense feeling from the first bad knock to the very end. Just having the intruders standing around doing nothing with the masks on felt so unnatural. The film uses a handheld camera for certain moments and many shots are framed to partly hide the object being viewed. Wonderful way of hiding the creepy things that are out in the night and of making you feel like one of the interlopers. There are multiple 'jump' moments. My wife was startled multiple times. The female mask selection was great. Retro Halloween or costume party masks that have aged. The never changing expression makes the toying, playful aggression and violence even scarier. The male's mask looked creepy but didn't see optimal for stalking people in the dark. It looked like a toaster cover with holes in it. The scares are nice punctuations in the sentences of tension in this film.

I want to thank the filmmaker for giving us 20 minutes or so of the couple establishing themselves as maybe people we would care about vs. killers. Liv Tyler, playing the slightly pretty girl next door, rejects a marriage proposal and has to spend an evening with her doting Mr. Perfect that was supposed to be romantic but is sad as she 'isn't ready'. Problem is that he is perfect and does everything for her. Dude, should have been a jerk during the whole friend's wedding instead of super romantic. Just once in these movies, I'd love to see someone screw someone else over or hurt someone and then when shit gets real, the hurt person doesn't defend or help the other person. Wouldn't that be a bit realistic in the aftermath of a rejected marriage proposal?

This was a cheap movie to make and was very very profitable. There is a sequel in the works. The randomness of life and unknown motivations of the universe are explored superficially in this flick, but it does play on a basic fear many people have. "No matter what you do, trouble will find you." I'd love to see a sequel where the strangers get fucked with by their prey. Like the prey would be some woman who watches her man get slashed and she ends up killing the woman with her hair color and takes the mask to then go and ice the other two. Mayeb it could be the guy who sees his lady get slashed and then he goes all Rambo in "First Blood Part 2" and takes them out in the woods. This is an entertaining film. This is a tense film. This has plenty of thrills and even Dennis from "Always Sunny in Philadelphia" shows up. I recommend it for your next slasher flick night or in prep for next Halloween.

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