There is something deeply unsettling and horrifying about pure evil. It creeps up on you and makes something as mundane as a knock on the door a bone-chilling experience.
Unfolding with a preview of the bloodbath that is yet to happen, The Strangers then transports the viewer to see the main characters, Scott Speedman and Liv Tyler on a ride back to a country house. It is dark and chilly outside but we see more coldness in the characters that we will grow to love before the 90 minutes are up.
As they try to navigate through an obvious bump in their relationship, they get interrupted innocently at first by a bang on the door. When the couple opens that door to see who would be knocking at 4 o'clock in the morning, I begin to squirm. Speedman tries to turn on the porch light to give us a glimpse of the faceless stranger to no avail. That is the image that the film imprints on us. A faceless evil that could be anyone that we know.
In its bone-chilling end, we see the couple resolve their issue and we root for them. It is perfectly poetic.
The Strangers is a debut primer from writer director Bryan Bertino. He gives us a smart, level-headed thriller with affectingly real characters that we can actually care for. He does not explain his evil, as evil is just is. He affirms that minute fear at the back-most part of our heads when we get a chill and we feel like we are being watched even in the security of our own homes.
Movie Rating: 3.5/5
I would recommend watching it in cinemas for Philippine viewers as it is yet to be released here.