Reely Bernie Horror Fest: The Strangers – 2008

Origin/Director: USA/Bryan Bertino

Viewings Tally: This is my first viewing! I never got around to it back in the day.

Synopsis: After returning from a wedding reception, a couple staying in an isolated vacation house receive a knock on the door in the mid-hours of the night. What ensues is a violent invasion by three strangers, their faces hidden behind masks. The couple finds themselves in a violent struggle, in which they go beyond what either of them thought capable in order to survive. [Letterboxd]

Reely Bernie’s Take: Let’s be honest: The home invasion horror movie has exhausted itself. I see the cover design for this movie and immediately think of the copycat, You’re Next (2011), the overlooked Them (2006), the doubly done and fearfully successful Funny Games (1997 And 2007), and Wait Until Dark, which pioneered the home invasion genre in 1967.

It’s all setup for “Don’t open that door!” horror, led by two beautiful Hollywood leads who do their best representing the quintessential victims in distress. There is the early scene when one of the “strangers” appears out of a hallway shadow that made me hold my breath. The sound effects, source music, and an abrasive film score achieve suspense on a minimalistic level.

Yet, it becomes very obvious, very soon that we’re dealing with typical low IQs, cellphones that (of course) run out of charge, and lots of dumb questions like, “Who is that?” (Liv Tyler, we don’t know who is terrorizing the house either. Is the Pope Catholic?)

The last 30 minutes are devoted to running, hiding, chasing, and then some hiding again. Who knew a home invasion could be so redundant?

The Shot that Won’t Let Go:

Peekaboo! (This is pretty much the only scene that made me gulp.)

I understand the need for home invasive anxiety entertainment (haha), but when its base is this base, then I can’t react with appreciation. Instead, I react with boredom.

Ouch.

Final Score: This flick gets 1.5 canvas-masked/Friday the 13th, Part 2 aesthetic wannabes out of 5

(Maybe I was too harsh. But, I certainly did get bored at the end.)

Did you see it? What did you think?

13 thoughts on “Reely Bernie Horror Fest: The Strangers – 2008

Add yours

  1. “Inspired by true events”. They need to retire that line from horror films now. The Strangers: Prey at Night was actually better than this, and it was terrible. At least it had the pool fight to Bonnie Tyler.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I forgot to mention that – Since Fargo, no movie should use, “Inspired by true events.” Whether it’s true or not, the movie has to be well executed to earn that statement, and even then, it’s a cop out. At least Fargo knew its semi-true statement was an inside joke, and true fans did too. I haven’t seen the sequel to this…

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    1. So true, and even though I’m still having fun watching old and new, seen and unseen horror fare, the inevitable “boring” one will happen. These are very difficult formulas to work with because they have been done so many times, but I guess I could say the same for dramas, comedies, etc.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. So true. I think I’m at the point where I’ve seen too many, so my standards are too high. I’m still having fun, though! Like, even though they spoil it in the poster, when that dude appears out of nowhere, carefully framed in the background, it did make me gasp. Very well executed. Now, the screenplay, on the other hand…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I remember Ils, remade as them, being the start of this specific cycle, but it’s an unfortunate director’s vanity to imagine that they can string out tension and race and chase to feature length. Not seen the Strangers sequel as yet…

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi, friend! I was so excited when I saw you pop up on my feed today, but then when I went to your blog I realized I’m REALLY far behind. I will get caught up soon!

    Anyway, I saw this a couple of years ago, and I didn’t hate it. Like you, I agree that it’s been done to death, and I don’t mind traditional horror as long as there’s some originality. I do, however; enjoy making fun of horror movies sometimes, (my husband and I perform our own MST3K commentary) and if I’m remembering correctly, we had fun adding our own commentary throughout this one. I may have also been tipsy at the time, so perhaps that had something to do with it. Haha!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is so good to hear from you again, Kristian! School has been incredibly exhausting. We are in hybrid mode, so preparations for music class are double, as I have to focus on a group in front of me and a group on the screen. A nightmare. That’s why I need horror movies, haha!

      Yes, The Strangers isn’t necessarily bad. I guess I just needed more, and it was such a copycat of an overdone genre. However, going to old, new, bad, and good horror films is just fun, and that’s the purpose of my little fest.

      Haha! I love the commentary idea! Oh my gosh, The Strangers would be perfect for something like that 🙂

      Like

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