Directed by Bryan Bertino [Other horror films: Mockingbird (2014), The Monster (2016), The Dark and the Wicked (2020)]
Let me get this off my chest first: this movie is not “based on true events.” It’s inspired by an utterly unrelated crime. When a movie tries to pass itself off as real to increase the suspense, or whatever the hell they think they think is does, it just pisses me off. It didn’t work with The Blair Witch Project, and it sure as hell doesn’t work here. It adds nothing to the movie, and in fact, takes away from what otherwise is an okay (though below average) flick.
Home invasion flicks have never been a favorite of mine. I love slashers, but most home invasion flicks do nothing for me (save some exceptions, such as 2016’s Hush), mainly because they’re often so repetitive. Which isn’t to say there aren’t some quite suspenseful scenes and creepy imagery in the movie – there are. But when that’s all your movie has to boast about, it doesn’t amount to much.
Liv Tyler did a good job as the main female victim, and the masked guy had a cool mask. Also, one of the songs in the movie, “Mama Tried” by Merle Haggard, was pretty catchy. Still have that chorus stuck in my head. And as aforementioned, there were some creepy scenes now and again.
But what I always took as the “wham” line, their explanation as to why they’re causing such pain to this couple, doesn’t really do it for me. I don’t have a big problem with it – it just falls flat. It falls flatter still because even after that, we don’t see their unmasked faces, which doesn’t make much since, story-wise. Again, it adds nothing.
The Strangers isn’t necessarily a bad movie, but really, when there are literally hundreds of better movies from 2005 – 2010 alone, there’s not much point in seeking this one out. Just a below average flick with little going for it.