Blogger's note: Minor Spoilers for this movie.
Like the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, this movie is based on true events...you know, with the characters, location and plot being entirely fictional. Following a marriage proposal that doesn’t end well, Kristen McKay and James Hoylt return home to talk about their feelings for a good twenty minutes, giving me the impression I had mistakenly bought a romance film. Suddenly, their awkward dialogue is interrupted by the arrival of the 'Strangers', a group of mysterious hooded figures who want to terrorize and murder them. Why? Because…there’s nothing better to do on a Thursday night I guess. Actually, considering that Liv Tyler stars in this, I can think of one possible reason.
The Strangers actually impressed me a little more than most of the horror movies I’ve been watching lately, probably because the characters behaved exactly as I would have (well, for the first half anyway). Plan #1: Try and use a cell phone. Plan #2: Find a shotgun and then hide in the corner of the room with it pointed at the doorway. And if all else fails, Plan #3: Curl up in a ball and cry for a while. Unfortunately, towards the second half the main characters fall into the usual cliché of stupidity-separating from each other for no reason, and trying to find a radio in a shed that the antagonists are very obviously guarding.
The antagonists use atmosphere very well, giving the impression that they are more powerful than they actually are. Which is lucky for them, because a man, woman and child armed only with knives are trying to terrorize two fully capable people, one of whom is armed with a shotgun. Later it is revealed that they do this sort of activity often, so I have to wonder how many times they can actually get away with it.
There are moments in the movie that are also not really explained. For example, one character mentions that he hasn’t heard a dog bark or a car pass on the road. Okay…does that mean the antagonists killed every dog, bird and car on the way? In addition, the ability of the antagonists able to enter and leave every part of the house within seconds is unexplained. Finally, the ending is spoiled right from the start, which really hurts the film more than it helps. Thank you, movie, I was actually going to care about the main characters for a little while.
FINAL GRADE: 3 out of 5. The atmosphere is excellent, but unfortunately there are a few logic gaps and the main characters are a little flat.
And don't worry, you get to see Liv Tylor naked at precisely 7 minutes and twenty-eight minutes into this film.