The Strangers (2008)

Horror, Mystery, Thriller
Scott Speedman, Liv Tyler, Gemma Ward, Alex Fisher
A young couple staying in an isolated vacation home are terrorized by three unknown assailants.
The Strangers provides a few scares, but offers little else to distinguish itself from other slasher films.
  • Universal Pictures Company:
  • R Rated:
  • IMDB link IMDB:
  • 30 May 2008 Released:
  • 21 Oct 2008 DVD Release:
  • $52.5M Box office:

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Trailer:

'Inspired' not 'Based' - Learn this before viewing. First Review.4/10
First off, let's start with a note. It was 'inspired' not 'based' off true events. People need to learn the difference between the two. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is 'inspired' by true events, but still people believe it really happened. It never happened... it was inspired by the story of the serial killer Ed Gein who would take body parts off of women and make furniture out of them, and other forms of cruelty.The Strangers was 'inspired' by true events which means they probably took similarities from stories of The Manson killings and other killings of the same sort. So really the director had free range to do whatever the hell he wanted at the end, and I believe he failed.

I heard about this movie a long time ago and was so excited that it was finally being released that I saw it at the first midnight showing. At first, I was enjoying the set, costumes, and I believe the acting was pretty well done. I believe the director achieved a very creepy feeling, but too many times did he use to obvious cop-out of making loud noises to 'startle' the viewer instead of genuinely 'scaring' them. The site bloody-disgusting.com made an excellent article describing the differences between these.

In the end, I remember about two scenes and the rest is a vague blur. The scene with Glenn Howerton (of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia! fame. Woot!) was probably one of the most tense and unsettling scenes of the film. The other being the portion where the record is skipping.

This movie is a strong example of anti-climactic. The ending was a cliche. I won't give it away but I will say that it did not leave me feeling disturbed nor did it leave me with a sense of accomplishment. Two things I look for in an ending to the flood of "home-invasion" horror flicks. I believe two recent films do a great job of accomplishing these factors. The recent VACANCY and FUNNY GAMES are leaps and bounds greater than this film. They do a much greater job of making the protagonists feel helpless and I strongly suggest both of them.

Hopefully, I could help some. I know many will disagree with me, but quite honestly that's fine. Many of today's moviegoers enjoy paying $10 to jump out of their seat because someone's face appears in a window or a sound guy hits a wall really loud. It's the sad truth and Hollywood banks on crap like that. So it isn't going to end anytime soon.

Thanks, Alex
One of the best suspense movies ever10/10
Saw the screening for this film and it was truly terrifying. The whole audience was screaming at parts and there are several scenes that make you jump. The tension buildup during the movie is incredible. Some of the scenes are disturbing but not overly gory. Liv Tyler does a convincing job of making you feel the fright and a lot of the acting is non-verbal. Scott Speedman also does an excellent and believable job. With todays crazy headlines, this is the kind of movie that you can actually imagine happening somewhere in this country in real life. Trust me, at the end of this movie you will be double checking the locks on your doors and windows.
What a waste of time1/10
*** Warning *** Spoilers *** For such a short film, this managed to cram in every senseless cliche of the so-called horror genre. '...Girl runs from bad guys, girl trips, girls falls and hurts herself, girl whimpers, duh...' No character development, no depth, no sympathy for the characters. '... bad guys are harassing your house and threatening you, so OF COURSE you get hysterical, cry, and seek out every spooky noise...' So bad guys are hacking at your front door with an ax, you've got a loaded shotgun in your hand, but you don't shoot, you throw a chair at the door, Oh Wait, I've got a gun! But by the time you think to shoot the bad guys are gone. So your under attack from bad guys and it's just you, your girlfriend, and a loaded shotgun, so instead of hunkering down and letting them come to you to get shot, you leave your girlfriend alone in the un-secured house while you wander off to the tool shed to find and old ham radio. Sure, makes sense. So you go visit your friends and someone shoots out your windshield, do you: A- drive off fast and call 911, B- call 911 then run in the house to check on your friends, or C- dust yourself off, sneak into the house quietly, without ever bothering to wonder why your friend's car is wrecked, who's pickup truck that is, why the house is trashed, don't bother turning off the loud stereo, or calling out your friends' names, in fact don't even bother to look behind you to see if maybe the people who shot out your windshield are still around. That's right - C !?!Everyone who died in this movie deserved to die for being such mindless, spineless, insipid, whimpering idiots. Maybe if you've never seen a movie before, ever, or if you've had recent head trauma, or maybe if you're Amish this movie might scare you. Maybe. Don't waste your time or money.

REVISION::: it's now Sunday 6/1. I originally posted the above comment after an advance screening of this movie late-night on thursday 5/29 (because I work at a movie theater I get to see all the movies before they're released.) So I've noticed something peculiar... there are, as of now, about 8 pages of comments on this film. About 3 pages of comments before mine (meaning before the movie came out) all gave The Strangers 9 or 10 stars, glowing reviews, and taglines like "best horror movie ever," "scariest film ever," and "awesome." But then, if you look at the dates of submission, 95% of all the comments posted after the movie was released say it's lackluster at best, anticlimactic, boring, lame, and not worth watching. So, I wonder, is that a coincidence, or maybe, just maybe, were all those people who posted great comments prior to the movie's release doing it for some other reason? Were they being paid to hype the film? Do they work for the production company? Or is it all just a big coincidence? Hmmm....
kill them already!2/10
1. would you leave your girlfriend in a house with no neighbors to buy something, after some creepy girl out of nowhere just comes knocking on your door looking for someone you don't know??? NOOOOOOOOO 2. boyfriend: you have a gun, USE IT. don't use a chair.girlfriend: you have a knife, Don't LOSE IT. don't ever let it go..just because your boyfriend has arrived doesn't mean you should just let him protect you..protect yourself, don't be useless. grab every weapon you can imagine. 3. friend: you're waiting outside the house(WITH NO NEIGHBORS)and somebody throws a huge rock on your windshield AND YOU LOOK AROUND AND SEE THAT NO ONE'S THERE. what would a normal adult do? drive as fast as they can away, and call for help and come back. but no, he went down, he noticed that his friend's car is wrecked and there's an unfamiliar pickup parked in front. did he run back to his car and call for help as fast as he could? NOOOOO...he continued walking slowly, inside the house, not even looking back to see if somebody was behind, totally forgetting that maybe there's somebody out there:the one who threw something on his windshield. not even bothering to turn down the music, not even calling his friends name NOT WEVEN LOOKING BEHIND HIM OR ANY OTHER DIRECTION OTHER DIRECTION, IS IT HARD TO LOOK AROUND??? DUHHHH..... 4. you would've been saved if you stayed where you are. YOU HAVE THE GUN...you could've waited inside the room and shoot the hell out the killers if they come in. if you missed, you're girlfriend's there with the knife, you could've helped each other out, oh wait she doesn't the knife or anything.. 5. would you leave your girlfriend inside the house knowing that they're everywhere, to hunt the killer in the woods? why would you even go to the woods? and you have the gun and your girlfriend has no weapon??? how inconsiderate!!!! and if i were the girl, i would never let my boyfriend out of sight. i will come with you with a knife, wherever you go. at least we can die together. 6. if you stumble in a barn complete with all the deadly, pointy things things you can see, wouldn't you take anything to protect yourself or maybe try and kill the killers? you could've found another axe there. 7. killers: kill them already, what's the point in all this scary tactics if you're just gonna stab them. no gruesome whatsoever. nothing imaginable. just plain kind of like a drunken stabbing incident. that's it. why wait till the morning and change her clothes, when you could've captured them right away and torture them to death instead. some stab-happy killers. 8. in the beginning of the movie, the narrator said it they still don't know what happened. his voice made it sound like it's so gruesome. and the 2 boys who called 911 i believe. they saw the killers.. didn't the police interview thwem and maybe get a sketch out of them????? they were staring at the killers for more a than 2 min, they could've remember what they looked like exactly... 9. oh and let's not forget the ever so cliche ending where you think the victim'as and then suddenly move..... 10. this movie is dragging and is so slow, you'd want the killers to just kill them already. no characted development either. for any of them...and one of the killers has asthma to add some creepyness...
A Tale Of Two Movies...5/10
Like many, I went into this (knowing) the basics of the story. That being said, I found the first half of the film quite suspenseful and creepy by modern movie standards. The story begins by developing the relationship between it's two stars, then separating them and introducing the terror. This worked, and worked very well in it's ability to set up (and scare the hell out of) the viewers. Unfortunately, after we have established what is taking place, the story seems to slow to a simmer, and eventually fizzles out. The second half of the film is filled with horror movie cliche's and cheap scare tactics, almost to the point of boredom... It's a shame, because I haven't been a fan of slasher films since the eighties, and I REALLY wanted to "Like" this film.

My recommendation would be to watch the first half of the film, then go and sit by yourself in a cabin, somewhere in the woods. The effect would be much better, and the film would serve it's purpose.