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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Stranger on The Strangers

posted by on October 29 at 13:00 PM


We got a copy of The Strangers in the mail a couple weeks back to promote the film’s DVD release. I hadn’t seen it, but I read Brad Steinbacher’s review of it, a brief portion of which I’ll throw down here:

Sleazy and unsettling, writer-director Bryan Bertino’s “inspired by true events” tale of a couple being terrorized in their exurban home by three masked boogeymen gets a lot of mileage out of the simple things. Doors are pounded on menacingly; blurred figures creep into frame unbeknownst to the victims. It’s all admirably restrained and, for the most part, effective.

I tried to contact Brad to ask him if I should watch it, but nobody’s seen him since the shit went down in Peru a couple weeks ago. What the hell, I figured, it’s almost Halloween, right? And so I watched The Strangers.

Well, it’s not Hostel, anyway. There’s not a whole lot of torture porn in the movie. As Generalissimo Brad says in his tremendously accurate review, a lot of the scares are of the good old-fashioned “Dumbass-endangers-him/herself-when-under-attack” variety. Unfortunately, both Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman are completely worthless, and the whole movie feels like 2/3rds of a good horror flick. I’m not saying that all the mysteries and ambiguities of the movie need to be resolved, but there needs to be more of the movie than what’s just onscreen to make the thing an actual film with real characters. As it is, it’s just the longest trailer ever made. I’d avoid this, frankly, because it’ll just make you want to watch the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre again, and you can save yourself time by just skipping the middleman.

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I don't know how or why TTCM popped into your head. It reminded me of Ils and Funny Games, both of which are better, but all three of them are great.

Posted by Mr. Poe | October 29, 2008 1:07 PM

Midnight Meat Train. That is all.

Posted by A | October 29, 2008 1:09 PM

fuckin steinbacher

Posted by paulus | October 29, 2008 1:10 PM

Not sure if you are familiar with a french film "Ils" ("Them" for US release) but the Strangers seemed to lift it's central idea from this film. While far from a masterpiece, it's a remarkably sustained work of suspense that is supposedly 'based on actual' events (though I had no luck tracking down the initial incident). Do check it out. (I know that Hollywood video on Broadway has few copies) Far superior to The Strangers!

Posted by the shape | October 29, 2008 2:18 PM

ils was already covered in #1

Posted by le duh | October 29, 2008 2:22 PM

The REAL one (i forget the title, but I think it is Romanian) was really good and really scary. It was truer to the actual evants and less dumbed down.
I think it was called Them...I'll ask my husband when he gets home.

The pacing and effects in the original scared the sh%t out of me

Posted by Julie Russell | October 29, 2008 3:28 PM

wow we're on a roll. I've just sacked my comments editor! I'd advise Julie to do the same.

Posted by the shape | October 29, 2008 3:40 PM


Posted by Mr. Poe | October 29, 2008 4:07 PM

What nobody mentioned was that this movie is virtually identical to last years' 'Vacancy'. Trade out Liv Tyler for Kate Beckinsdale...a vacation house for a's the same setup and conclusion....vacationing couple on the rocks find their privacy violated by incessant knocks on the door...the intrusion escalates...the couple must fight for their lives...only she gets out alive

While the predators' motives are more transparent in 'Vacancy''s essentially the same movie

Posted by Bland Archive | October 29, 2008 5:25 PM

We didn't mention Vacancy on aesthetic grounds.

Posted by Mr. Poe | October 29, 2008 6:22 PM

The film was called is the actual story that The Strangers was stolen from...check it came out in 07 or 08

It tells what really happened and what happened to the perps/etc.

It is up there with High Tension in the Scary as Fu&K Dept....

Ironic that I wrote Dumbed down and spelled events wrong..hee hee... I's an ijit!

P.S. READ Seattle Metroploitan this month and see my dog on page 29:)

Posted by Julie Russell | October 30, 2008 10:09 AM

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