Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Experiment in Terror

The Stangers
Year: 2008

Directed by: Bryan Bertino

Starring: Liv Tyler, Scott Speedman
Gemma Ward

Well, I've got to hand it to you, I was wrong for once about a movie. Actually, I have been wrong about many movies, but I haven't blogged about any of them, now have I?

So, I bet you're wondering how Mr. Rock Hard Horror Movie Lover felt about the latest in "Inspired by True Events" movie, which in my book is an immediate kiss of death. Not only is it a kiss of death, but it makes the film seem kind of pathetic. Sure, adding a tagline that claims the events depicted in the film are based on real events, so the added sense of reality should cause me to quiver in my boots. However, I am one who thinks that a movie can be scary on its own without having to try and make it look like a true story. And come on, they usually don't even mean it when they say it was inspired by true events. Like I mentioned in my earlier post, Texas Chainsaw Massacre was a huge fabrication, a hyperbole covered in gore and guts that took the story of Ed Gein and ran with it. Gein however is not present here in this film. No, the killers here don't come with catch phrases, they don't mutilate any fingers or tear out any eye sockets. While they may have masks, they don't terrorize horny teenagers at summer camp. The terror is at your house. Late at night, when all seems normal and safe.

How wrong we are.

Compared to what my original impression was once I saw the trailer, how I viewed the film changed dramatically. Upon seeing the trailer for The Strangers, I began to break out in a fit of giggles. A film where two gorgeous people are chased around their house by maniacs? How original! But this is so much more than just a throwaway horror flick with skin and blood to spare. The blood is minimal, the sex is interrupted and from what I saw, NO misogyny, so forget any cameo from Paris Hilton.

I saw The Strangers at a daytime performance, 10:45 to be exact. So I was the only person in the theater. Only time would tell how scary, creepy and just downright frightening The Strangers ended up being.

Like many horror films, The Strangers takes place in the middle of the night. We first see a young couple, Kristen and James(Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman), and from the looks of it, their love life is on the rocks. Before we are subjected to the thrills and chills The Strangers beholds, like in any good movie, we need to examine the lives of our characters before we get in over our heads.

Using a somewhat voyeuristic eye as well as an unsteady camera that looks at our characters, as well as minimal everything. There is some music, but the music is only prevalent when the strangers in our film turn on a record to scare not only the characters, but the audience. And trust me, I am a die-hard horror film addict, but I don't get scared easily, unless it's really scary. And recently, my scare odometer has been very low. Sitting in the dark, alone, I realized how no matter where we were, being alone can be the scariest time of all. Because though we may ignore it, someone is there, watching and waiting for you to notice.

To call The Strangers "a jump out of your seat nail biter!" does the film no justice, I jumped many, many times through out the movie. I gasped, my heart raced, I didn't want the two protagonists to suffer the impending fate that they had led themselves into. I would call this movie one of the smartest movies in the horror genre in recent years. It's more than fear, it's the frightening notion that strangers can and will do what they want with you, and that we can't always be sure who is around the corner.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Interesting. I wanted to see this film just for the hell of it, but now I'm actually very interested.