Release date: May 30, 2008 Director: Bryan Bertino
When a young couple arrives home from a friend’s wedding, what was meant to be a romantic weekend getaway quickly dissolves into a night of spine-tingling terror as the frightened lovers falls prey to a trio of silent, masked strangers and find themselves fighting to survive.
The behavior of the antagonists and the compelling power of fear sets The Strangers apart from other horror films. The uncomfortable atmosphere at the genesis of the film sets the stage for the terror which unfolds as the night darkens. The emotions of the protagonists are already shaken in the aftermath of a heated confrontation, and when Kristen (Liv Tyler) is left vulnerable and alone at the house, the stranger’s invasion shatters what is left of her already fragile nerves, and she is rendered powerless against the frightening attack. When James returns, he is initially unconvinced of anything being amiss, but soon he too is drawn into the strangers’ sinister game and becomes just as frightened and helpless. Ironically, instead of killing Kristen and James immediately, the killers seem more inclined to silently toy with the couple and empower themselves more by scaring the hell out of them rather than killing them.
In the broad light of day, the masked assailants don’t seem as intimidating, or their motives as sinister. Nevertheless, even when the silence is broken and the shrouded faces are revealed to the terrified couple, the trio manage to impart a final devastating blow before they drive off into the sunrise, as one of them says to another, “We’ll do better next time.” The story concludes by coming full circle back to where it began, and the twist at the end gives the audience one parting burst of saturated fear as the nightmare fades into the credits.
The Strangers is without a doubt one of the most unnerving horror films that I have ever seen, and the terror is only magnified by the silence of the villains and the increasingly malevolent game that they play. I would highly recommend this movie to anyone who loves a superb psychological thriller.