The Strangers
What I usually tend to notice about horror fanatics is that they do not really get scared of horror films. After seeing a body ripped to shreds and spit out again by countless of psychotic killers and monsters, I usually find myself either laughing or saying, "I've seen that before." The same can be said for many, many other terror of the night fans. However, the horror films that usually tend to stick in our minds are not the ones that make us laugh the most, but they are the ones that make us think deeply or actually shit our pants. "The Strangers" made me do the latter. Not literally, of course, but it did make me quite frightened. 

I want to discuss this more, but if you haven't seen the film as of yet, it is a 2008 horror film that plays off of home invasion. Some of the most thought of home invasion moments in cinema history can easily be traced to Kubrik's "A Clockwork Orange" and Peckinpah's "Straw Dogs". However, the genre is neatly rooted in the horror scene because, well, it's a natural paranoia that most people have. 

"Make sure the doors and windows are locked," has always been a final word by the leaders of the house ever since I was a child. It became habit to make sure that all open access points were secured before both my parents and us kids went to bed. That was simply to help keep out whatever would want to come in, especially unwanted visitors. It's that fear, that need for safety that "The Strangers" plays off of so well. It makes being home a gruesome time. 

Liv Tyler gave performance to the character of Kristen McKay, while Scott Speedman acted as James Hoyt. Now, first off, I don't necessarily think that either Tyler or Speedman's characters are worthy of praise. They are both idiots through and through, and the only thing they succeed at is blowing Speedman's best friend's head off with gun in the cabin. They are colossal fuck ups, and, if you watch it with a raw bit of dark humor, you'll find these two dummies more funny than serious. It's as if they were meant to be in a horror comedy, but they just got struck with the wrong antagonists who weren't playing any funny games.

But, what director Bryan Bertino is able to do so well in the film is he is able to slowly creep up tension. No real gore, no high body count, just slow and painful tension. It all begins when a young blonde woman comes knocking at their door asking for Tamara. After being told she's at the wrong house, she simply states ominously that she will see them later. Leave it to the man of the house to leave, and poor Kristen is psychologically tortured by masked assailants as they steal her phone and smash on her windows.

I felt bad for her, and I wished that she was more capable of defending herself. But, as it goes, she played out the stereotypical damsel in distress. I would have thought that when James arrived back at the house, he would have been the beef cake and beat the shit out of at least one of the home invaders, but, no. He's just as much as a damsel as is Kristen. Again, not to repeat myself, but they're hopeless. 

My opinion flatly states that while the main two characters were terrible lead protagonists who can't do anything right, the three masked home invaders are excellent, terrifying antagonists. My favorite scene in the whole film actually plays out when Kristen is alone. As she stands in the kitchen, in a wide pan view of the house, a man in a sack mask appears behind her in the hallway. She doesn't see him, but he stares her down. It is a breathtaking moment where many have panicked, gone quiet, and are disturbed for as she turns, he is gone, and the audience is left wondering what he is up to. This does stack up to one of my favorite movie moments of all time, and I love it every time I see it. 

Aside from the lead characters idiocy, the other main problem with the film lies within the story. In the beginning, it's discovered that James had a failed proposal to Kristen. Rather than building off of that and creating a sort of fight between the two characters, only to have the home invasion bring them closer once more and realizing how much they love each other, it is extremely down played and only makes a return at the end of the film. All plot devices in this film are worthless, and the best parts are really when the masked horrors are attacking the two dopes.

Nonetheless, when I finished watching the movie for the first time, I was frightened. Not at first, mind you, it was a bit after. Around 7pm, after the film finished, I came downstairs to get a snack. The house was empty, and everything around me was silent. It was then that thoughts occurred to me such as, "Who's out there?", "Who's watching me?", and "I could turn into my kitchen and die right now." The simple home invasion horror trope played so well in this film that it scared me to be in my own home. Whether or not that was the intention of the film is not known, but it stuck with me even after I finished watching it. And that is what makes a good horror film. 

That is also why it remains as one of my favorite horror films, just for its ability to scare me. It really isn't the best acted or the best directed, and I'm fine with admitting that, but whenever someone asks me for a good horror film, I always point to this one and say, "It scared me. Watch it." And I forever always will. 
350
Brutal Resonance

The Strangers

6.0
"Alright"
Genre: Horror
Director: Bryan Bertino
Writer: Bryan Bertino
Star actors: Liv Tyler, Scott Speedman, Glenn Howerton, Gemma Ward, Kip Weeks, Laura Margolis
What I usually tend to notice about horror fanatics is that they do not really get scared of horror films. After seeing a body ripped to shreds and spit out again by countless of psychotic killers and monsters, I usually find myself either laughing or saying, "I've seen that before." The same can be said for many, many other terror of the night fans. However, the horror films that usually tend to stick in our minds are not the ones that make us laugh the most, but they are the ones that make us think deeply or actually shit our pants. "The Strangers" made me do the latter. Not literally, of course, but it did make me quite frightened. 

I want to discuss this more, but if you haven't seen the film as of yet, it is a 2008 horror film that plays off of home invasion. Some of the most thought of home invasion moments in cinema history can easily be traced to Kubrik's "A Clockwork Orange" and Peckinpah's "Straw Dogs". However, the genre is neatly rooted in the horror scene because, well, it's a natural paranoia that most people have. 

"Make sure the doors and windows are locked," has always been a final word by the leaders of the house ever since I was a child. It became habit to make sure that all open access points were secured before both my parents and us kids went to bed. That was simply to help keep out whatever would want to come in, especially unwanted visitors. It's that fear, that need for safety that "The Strangers" plays off of so well. It makes being home a gruesome time. 

Liv Tyler gave performance to the character of Kristen McKay, while Scott Speedman acted as James Hoyt. Now, first off, I don't necessarily think that either Tyler or Speedman's characters are worthy of praise. They are both idiots through and through, and the only thing they succeed at is blowing Speedman's best friend's head off with gun in the cabin. They are colossal fuck ups, and, if you watch it with a raw bit of dark humor, you'll find these two dummies more funny than serious. It's as if they were meant to be in a horror comedy, but they just got struck with the wrong antagonists who weren't playing any funny games.

But, what director Bryan Bertino is able to do so well in the film is he is able to slowly creep up tension. No real gore, no high body count, just slow and painful tension. It all begins when a young blonde woman comes knocking at their door asking for Tamara. After being told she's at the wrong house, she simply states ominously that she will see them later. Leave it to the man of the house to leave, and poor Kristen is psychologically tortured by masked assailants as they steal her phone and smash on her windows.

I felt bad for her, and I wished that she was more capable of defending herself. But, as it goes, she played out the stereotypical damsel in distress. I would have thought that when James arrived back at the house, he would have been the beef cake and beat the shit out of at least one of the home invaders, but, no. He's just as much as a damsel as is Kristen. Again, not to repeat myself, but they're hopeless. 

My opinion flatly states that while the main two characters were terrible lead protagonists who can't do anything right, the three masked home invaders are excellent, terrifying antagonists. My favorite scene in the whole film actually plays out when Kristen is alone. As she stands in the kitchen, in a wide pan view of the house, a man in a sack mask appears behind her in the hallway. She doesn't see him, but he stares her down. It is a breathtaking moment where many have panicked, gone quiet, and are disturbed for as she turns, he is gone, and the audience is left wondering what he is up to. This does stack up to one of my favorite movie moments of all time, and I love it every time I see it. 

Aside from the lead characters idiocy, the other main problem with the film lies within the story. In the beginning, it's discovered that James had a failed proposal to Kristen. Rather than building off of that and creating a sort of fight between the two characters, only to have the home invasion bring them closer once more and realizing how much they love each other, it is extremely down played and only makes a return at the end of the film. All plot devices in this film are worthless, and the best parts are really when the masked horrors are attacking the two dopes.

Nonetheless, when I finished watching the movie for the first time, I was frightened. Not at first, mind you, it was a bit after. Around 7pm, after the film finished, I came downstairs to get a snack. The house was empty, and everything around me was silent. It was then that thoughts occurred to me such as, "Who's out there?", "Who's watching me?", and "I could turn into my kitchen and die right now." The simple home invasion horror trope played so well in this film that it scared me to be in my own home. Whether or not that was the intention of the film is not known, but it stuck with me even after I finished watching it. And that is what makes a good horror film. 

That is also why it remains as one of my favorite horror films, just for its ability to scare me. It really isn't the best acted or the best directed, and I'm fine with admitting that, but whenever someone asks me for a good horror film, I always point to this one and say, "It scared me. Watch it." And I forever always will. 
Sep 11 2015

Steven Gullotta

info@brutalresonance.com
I've been writing for Brutal Resonance since November of 2012 and now serve as the editor-in-chief. I love the dark electronic underground and usually have too much to listen to at once but I love it. I am also an editor at Aggressive Deprivation, a digital/physical magazine since March of 2016. I support the scene as much as I can from my humble laptop.

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