Film review: The Strangers

Written by: Lisa Henneman
On Friday May 30, the new seat gripping horror film, The Strangers came to cinemas everywhere. The Rogue Pictures suspense thriller is set in Texas, and focuses on a young couple who are inexplicitly targeted by masked psycho-killers for a night of terror. The Strangers was written and directed by Bryan Bertino, a first-time film maker, who, with an experienced cast and some inspiring incentives was able to make a piece that was truly riveting. In the preview of the movie, the trailer began by saying that the film is “inspired by true events,” which immediately raises the curiosity from viewers. In an interview by Ryan Rotten who represents, Bertino was asked if this event really happened. In reply Bertino said, “Bottom line, I wrote the story. . .but I have heard those stories about people creeping around private properties which gave me different ideas for the script.” The Strangers stars Liv Tyler, most recently in other films such as the 2008 version of The Incredible Hulk, Smother and Reign Over Me. Looking back on Tyler’s films before The Strangers, her characters are more of a supporting role, she was not as much in the spotlight as she was in this film as the terrified girlfriend Kristen. Bertino expressed that her experience in emotional films made her perfect for her character. There was not one scene in the entire movie that Tyler was not showing intense emotions of sadness, fear, or torment. Bertino says, “She had done Lord of the Rings and Armageddon, she was able to bring some of that experience of intense feeling to the table.” Co-star of the film, Scott Speedman is not an actor that is as well known as Tyler but had similar experience that Bertino was looking for. In the television series Felicity, Speedman played a moody friend, and also co-starred in the vampire vs. werewolf film Underworld, as a love interest and passionate but hapless human. Bertino expressed in the shock-till-you-drop interview that Speedman had “spent long hours building characters so we were able to jump in.” The film critics worried that the film was going to be another gory “cut-them-up” film similar to Hostile or the Saw movies. But that was not the direction that Bertino was going in. The director wanted to make it feel as real as possible. What would you do if you went looking for what made the bump in the night and you found it? The goal is that after you watch the film you imagine the people wearing the mask behind the door you are too scared to look behind. Bertino believes that you don’t need continuous gore to make you too scared to turn out the lights. Expect to be hearing about more scary thrillers courtesy of Bertino. This first time writer and director describes dark stories as his “passion,” and that it is, “a part of who he is.” Writing up to five hours a day, he is no slacker and wishes to give the public their fix of fear that they are looking for.