Saturday, June 14, 2008

Film Review: The Strangers

Today, I had my choice of seeing 3 movies at the theatre: War, Inc., The Happenings, and THE STRANGERS. My date chose to see the latter with me and boy was he disappointed.

Starring Liv Tyler (Lord of the Rings) and Scott Speedman (Underworld: Evolution), The Strangers is about a young couple who throughout one terrifying night are reduced to terror, panic and survival by three sadistic, masked strangers.

One is wearing what looks like a potato sack over his head, one is blond and is wearing a betty boop face mask and the other is wearing a cupie doll mask. You never find out their identities. Even by the end of the film, the audience is left to ponder just who were these sick people?

Yeah, I know what reason was given for the slaughter: "Why are you doing this to us," says Kristin.

"Because you were home," says the masked blond. But WHO were they?

They certainly weren't cannibals, sex maniacs or creatures from the deep.

So, WHO were they?

I don't have an answer. At the sound of Liv Tyler's final scream and then the usual cut to black I was left feeling pretty empty inside. (my wallet too was empty)

Did I just waste my money again. No.

This film could have been worse. We have a high caliber actress in Liv Tyler who lights up the screen in everything she does. Liv Tyler knows how to show terror and she plays up every scream until the final cut beatifully. Scott Speedman shines as a normal guy just trying to protect what is his and keep his wits about him. A far cry from the superhuman werevamp hybrid I am used to seeing him play. Together, their chemistry fizzled (no they did not sizzle), i.e. I did not see enough passion between these two young lovers to care enough about them in the beginning. However, in their final scenes, when they are both about to be torn asunder with a butcher knife, there was some sympathy for them from me. You have to see the movie to know what I am talking about.

Which brings me back to the three masked strangers. You hardly see them early on, but when you do, they leave a cinematic impact on you. I tried to imagine myself in Kristin and James places during the film. This kind of thing doesnot happen everyday but it does happen. People kill people. Most of the time a person dies by the hands of someone they know, but there are murders that happen along because that victim is just there to kill. And that is a frightening concept.

This was writer/directer BRYAN BERTINO first outing behind the camera, and it honestly was a good one. I want more from this guy. More than that, I feel as though I am untitled to it. It is not everyday I go see a thriller and come out feeling less than thrilled and write a review like this, but I am willing to let $9.00 movie tickets be bygones and patiently wait and see what Bryan Bertino can do.

I'm Waiting.

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