MONKEY REVIEW: The Strangers

May 31, 2008

“Hello.”

Almost a great horror thriller: The Strangers, written and directed by Bryan Bertino, is scary, suspenseful and nervewracking for its first three quarters or so. The movie’s about three strangers who inexplicably terrorize a young couple (Scott Speedman and Liv Tyler) in a remote family summer home late one night. Using mostly sound, Bertino creates a palpable sense of fear, dread and anticipation, and builds it up until it’s nearly unbearable. But when the movie reaches a certain point, and you expect something monumental to happen, well…then nothing really does. It becomes a movie about people crawling around on the ground a lot, and a certain tedium sets in. Then the movie just sort of ends. When the last shot faded from view and the credits rolled, the nearly sold out audience I saw The Strangers with, mostly teenagers and members of the coverted 18-to-24 year old demographic, was clearly underwhelmed. It’s a shame because the movie works so well for most of its running time, and because Speedman and Tyler are so good in their roles. As far as home invasion thrillers go, The Strangers unfortunately doesn’t hold a candle to Them, a French film, released on DVD in March, with a similar storyline that doesn’t wear out its welcome. (Though it’s not without problems of its own.) All in all, The Strangers is all build up, little pay off.

MONKEY RATING: THREE MONKEYS

(For a brief explanation of the Monkey Review rating system, click here.)

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