THE STRANGERS Add To My Top 10
Random Acts of Violence
Release Date: May 30, 2008
Audience: Older teenagers and adults
Runtime: 90 minutes
Distributor: Rogue Pictures/Focus/Universal/General Electric
Director: Bryan Bertino
Writer: Bryan Bertion
Address Comments To:James Schamus, President
Focus Features/Rogue Pictures
A Division of NBC Universal and General Electric
65 Bleecker St., 2nd Floor
New York, NY 10012
Phone: (212) 539-4000
Fax: (212) 539-4099
As a horror movie intended to scare and terrorize, the movie succeeds. There is much suspense as the couple slowly discovers the killers and a game of ‘cat and mouse’ ensues as they try to flee and then ultimately confront their stalkers. At one point, James’s friend Mike shows up to visit and is brutally, though accidentally, shot by James, thinking Mike is the stalker.
The performances are solid. There isn’t a trace of ‘campiness’ to this horror movie; it takes itself very seriously. The music score is mostly low bass notes intended to increase the creepiness of the story. The plot is effectively directed and edited.
The beginning of the movie quotes violent crime statistics and says that this story is inspired by true events. Random, psychotic inspired violence defines the movie. Its sole purpose is the “entertainment value” of being shocked and scared. The movie is book ended by two tract-carrying teenage boys on bicycles who look very much like Mormon missionaries who discover the carnage that took place at the house the morning after and call 911. The movie flashes back to see the events of the night unfold.
At the end, viewers see the boys discover the house again, but before they do, they meet the trio of psychotic killers driving away. One of the killers asks the boy if she can have a copy of the tract they have, which is labeled “Christian Living.” The boys ask if she is a sinner and the killer responds, “Sometimes.” That represents some type of moral overlay to at least acknowledge that terrorizing and killing people is wrong. However, the boys clearly represent the Mormon, not Christian, faith.
The movie well deserves its R rating with a shotgun shooting, vicious stabbings, and nearly continual suspense and terror throughout the story. There is no nudity, but the couple begins to undress for sexual relations when they are interrupted by the killer banging on the door. This movie is not for teenagers or media-wise adults.
As horror moves go, the production quality is high. However, psychotic-inspired violence defines the movie. The movie is book ended by two tract-carrying teenage Mormon missionaries who discover the carnage that took place at the house the morning after and call 911. Before they do, they encounter the killers who ask for their tract called “Christian Living.” The movie deserves its R rating with a shotgun shooting, vicious stabbings, and nearly continual suspense and terror throughout the story.