Directed by Bryan Bertino.
Written by Bryan Bertino.
Starring Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman.
Release Year: 2008
Review Date: 5/30/08
for the freebie.
I took in the new thriller "The Strangers"
last night, the day before it opened nationally; I thought the
trailer was pretty good, but even in that trailer, it appeared that
the plot was thin--two lovers (Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman) go to
an isolated cabin to spend the night, and they are tormented by
three mask-wearing wackos the whole damned time.
I was hoping for a twist, or maybe another
movie-within-the-movie that didn't show itself in the trailer...no.
That really is the whole movie, and it only lasts about 80 minutes.
"The Strangers" is really only thick enough to fill up about half an
hour, but filmmaker Bryan Bertino somehow makes this last much
longer thanks to extended sequences of wait time.
What is here is not bad; a couple of the
scares are legit, and Tyler really does have a great movie scream.
The wackos (played by Gemma Ward, Kip Weeks and Laura Margolis) are
spooky thanks to their masks, but that does get old after a little
while--that, and the sheer lack of action once the wackos show up.
It is what isn't here that kinda blows--no
background on our criminals, no real background on our leads, a
one-stop set and an ending that really sucks. That the film is
supposedly based on a true story should feel like it takes advantage
of any real-world information, but that is also thrown out the
window. There is so much waiting in "The Strangers" that it
doesn't really fall into "thriller" or "horror"...it's just kind of
a movie, with some interesting set pieces.
Don't see this movie; it's not Hard Vice
bad, but there's nothing worth seeing here. (This naturally
means it will make like $20 million this weekend, which I'm sure is
at least double its budget.)
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard