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The Strangers


OK, so the film claims its plot is based on a true story, but from what I understand, the exposition and characters are drastically different from anything that actually happened in real life. However, knowing this doesn't make the movie any less creepy.

Estranged couple James Hoyt (Scott Speedman, Underworld) and Kristen McKay (Liv Tyler, The Lord of the Rings trilogy) take an awkward retreat to the Hoyt family cabin. Their night is rudely interrupted by a confused 4 a.m. knocker wearing a mask. But even after she leaves, the knocks continue and the pair find themselves the target of a random night of terror by three shrouded strangers.

This film, or at least the first half of it, uses classic horror film techniques. Rookie writer/director Bryan Bertino shows you very little of what is happening, but uses creepy music, sound effects and a claustrophobic house to set his stage. And he nails it. But as the film progresses, the script falls victim to a typical horror shortcoming in that the protagonists appear to become rather stupid.

This film is quite scary overall, and, per a special features interview, explores "terror" more than "horror." Most anyone can relate to the "What would happen if I were all alone in a deserted house and someone came knocking?" theme. The slight detour from believability and a less-than-firm resolution may leave some viewers wanting. Overall, however, this is a pretty well-made film that ought to frighten your socks off at least a few times.

This video courtesy of Hollywood Video, 590 Broadway Ave., 208-342-6117.