Posted October 15, 2008 in The Small Screen

Horror movie makers rarely get it right for the duration of their pictures. How often have you sat through the first 30 minutes of a film, palms sweating, heart pounding, only to be disappointed by some ridiculous resolution that lacks logic and drains the scariness right out of the film? The Strangers is a supposed “terror” film with Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman as a couple in a remote vacation home who get stalked by spooky folks in masks. Per usual, it starts as a genuinely scary film. A knock on the door in the middle of the night is played out in realistically creepy fashion, but the characters then proceed to do those usual nonsensical things that make you scream at them, “Get a bat or at least put some shoes on for God’s sake! And don’t you dare go out to that old barn by yourself!” When will filmmakers realize that it’d be twice as scary if their characters reacted like real human beings in these situations and still got nabbed? Instead, with each dumb move the dread seeps out of such movies like a balloon slowly losing helium, because you get the feeling it all could have been averted if only the characters had acted normally instead of like horses with blinders on, unable to even swivel their pretty little heads. The Strangers has some quality acting, great sets and sound design, but it’s all pointless if the writing isn’t there to begin with. Oh, and enough with the “inspired by true events” bullshit. These days, when a quickie Internet search reveals the real truth (or lack thereof) in said “true events” you just feel doubly duped, and that’s no way to keep the scare factor rolling. (Red Vaughn)

Universal, 88 minutes
Release date: October 21


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