In a time when the words "torture porn" are thrown about referring to the current spate of horror films hitting theaters, when a film like The Strangers comes along, it can be like a breath of fresh air.
I'm not going to give you a full review of The Strangers. In fact, the less you know the better. Though it's not a perfect film, I believe it to be a harbinger of better times coming for the horror film. I believe a horror film should be SCARY more than gory. And unfortunately, I can't help but feel like the latest wave of the genre featuring films like Hostel and the Saw series is more about spectacle in a "Grand Guignol" (look it up) sort of way.
If you've been reading Halloween Addict for a while you know that I tend to like my horror to scare me. Regaling you with my tales of my first Halloween viewing experience and my telling of how the Blair Witch Project was the last time I was terrified by a film, gives you some idea of my tastes.
Don't get me wrong, I've watched Hostel and the Saw films and I've enjoyed parts of them.
But I miss being scared.
The horror genre has gone through many incarnations. From the 70s demons, to the 80s slashers, to the 90s self-aware slashers, to the aughty-aughts (Thousands? 2000's?) "torture porn." We're at a point where the envelope can't really be pushed too much more in the gore department and the pendulum needs to swing back the other way to scary.
The Strangers takes a lot of its cues from its forefathers namely John Carpenter's Halloween. It features long takes, slow burns and the scares come from pacing and atmosphere. The situation is something everyone can relate to. You're home alone and there's a knock on the door. That's it.
The discs are pretty bare bones, so while you're waiting for the double-dip to drop you should get on iTunes or go to podcastalley.com and download the Creative Screenwriting Magazine podcast with the director and writer, Bryan Bertino, who gives a lot of insight into the making of this film, his inspirations and more.
Just check out the trailer below. It's one of the few trailers lately that made me sit up and say "What is THIS film?"
So give it a shot. Do me a favor: leave your expectations at the door, turn out the lights, and let yourself fall into this film's trappings.
Something scary this way comes...