Max delves once again into the vault of horror..
2008's The Strangers is a horror movie of the home invasion variety.
James Hoyt (Scott Speedman) and Kristen McKay (Liv Tyler) arrive at the Hoyt family vacation home after a wedding reception and an evening that didn't go as planned. Soon a stranger appears at their door at four in the morning, sparking the main story of the movie. The couple become increasingly harassed by three masked assailants, played by Gemma Ward, Kip Weeks, and Laura Margolis, who seek to do them harm. The film was Bryan Bertino's debut as write, director, and producer.
Not only this but the “true story” trope is a tired. For the most part the audience is aware that the events in this movie are not true and if the story is true it wouldn't be made into a horror movie, it would more than likely be a dramatic piece, possibly played on Lifetime.
Though this is not the only trope the movie utilizes; the beginning of the movie is the end of the movie. It starts out with two boys finding the house, having been torn apart, and the bodies prompting them to call 911. We then jump back to the beginning of the night. James and Kristen arrive at the house and are both visibly upset. To create a sense of character development, which for the most part is done well, it is shown that James had proposed to Kristen at the wedding reception and Kristen had said no. There's just enough dialogue to keep the story flowing and to expand on the characters until James leaves to get Kristen cigarettes.
This is the point of the movie where another horror movie trope is used and takes a little away from the previous character development. James comes back from the store to find Kristen hysterical. The audience has been shown that Kristen has been harassed by the unknown, masked individuals while James now becomes the unbelieving boyfriend. This has been done countless times, said female has experienced troublesome phenomena and is clearly upset then after explaining the situation to said female's boyfriend is not believed. One would think that a significant other would be the first to believe and act on their partner's story. No, James wanders around the house like a parent searching for a non-existent bogeyman to appease a child.
Maybe that's why she doesn't want to marry you, James.
Another positive to add to the movie is the premise of the film. In a horror movie, the line can be divided into real threats versus unreal threats. A real threat, like The Strangers’ three villains,can be more frightening than the more unreal threats, like monsters, demons, or immortal killing machine. One isn't necessarily more frightening than the other. But it is a more realistic fear when it comes to being attacked by people in your home than it is to find your home being haunted by a demonic power.
The Strangers delivers what it promises for the most part. It can come across a little rough around the edges sometimes, but is enjoyable nonetheless. The film is one that cannot be described as great, but is far from being a bad movie.
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