Sunday, 16 October 2011

A class act on the Home Intrusion theme

The Strangers

Written & Directed by

Bryan Bertrino

2008

I was impressed!  The writer/director looks very young in his imdb photo and I couldn’t find out very much about him but I think he did a stunningly good job on this film. Ok as readers of this blog will know Horror films are not normally my cup of tea, but every so often one just hits the spot. This one has shades of Stanley Kubrick’s Clockwork Orange and Michael Haneke’s Funny Games about it and Yes I think it holds it own amongst these class acts.

You know from the beginning what the end is, but I was on the edge of my seat waiting for how it was going to get there. The reasons for Doll Face and the other masked intruders is never explained, indeed the only hint of an explanation is the “It will be easier next time” line near the end. So yes there is gratuitous violence but it comes late. It is suspense that the movie is full of, not horror. It is atmospheric throughout as we watch the young couple(played beautifully by Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman) dealing with a pivotal point in their relationship, face the unknown terror of intruders. Its blend of suspense creating moves (like the looping record, the alternately friendly – menacing intrusions of the masked trio, the moving of the mobile phone etc) balance nicely with some intensely emotional scenes as they try to repair the relationship breach. For the most part, there is only these two actors on screen. Their performances are riveting. Many internet sites did not rate this movie highly but not me. I really liked it.

ashramblings verdict : a stunning debut. A young director to watch (4*)

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