The Strangers – USA, 2008

‘Because you were home.’

The Strangers is a 2008 American home invasion horror film written and directed by Bryan Bertino (director of The Monster and Mockingbird; co-producer of He’s Out ThereStephanie and The Blackcoat’s Daughter). It stars Liv Tyler, Scott Speedman, Glenn Howerton, Gemma Ward, Laura Margolis, and Kip Weeks

The film revolves around a young couple who are terrorized by three masked assailants, who break into the remote summer home in which they are staying and damage all means of escape.

The Strangers was made on a budget of $9 million. It grossed $82.3 million at the box office worldwide. A belated sequel, The Strangers: Prey at Night, was released in 2018.

Although it was ambiguously marketed as being “inspired by true events”, writer and director Bryan Bertino stated that the film was inspired by a series of break-ins that occurred in his neighborhood as a child, as well as some incidents that occurred during the Manson killings.

Kristen (Liv Tyler) and James (Scott Speedman) are expecting a relaxing weekend at a family vacation home, but their stay turns out to be anything but peaceful. First, a mysterious and dangerous woman arrives at the door while James is out on an errand.

When he returns, he accidentally kills his friend Mike (Glenn Howerton), mistaking him for an intruder. And then real danger does show up — in the form of three masked torturers, leaving Kristen and James struggling for survival…

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Reviews:

” …director Bryan Bertino takes his sweet time to get to the mayhem, teasing out the conflict between the victims and the looming threat of their mysterious attackers. The quietest moments are the most effective, built on the eerie discord of composing duo tomandandy’s score and compositions that tuck the bad guys in the corners of the frame, swaddled in shadow.” Scott Tobias, Rolling Stone

There have been great movies about home invasion, like In Cold Blood, that made more of it than gruesome “events.” The Strangers is a well-shot film (the cinematographer is the veteran Peter Sowa). It does what it sets out to do. I’m not sure that it earns the right to do it. Bertino shows the instincts of a good director; I hope he gets worthier material.” RogerEbert.com

“This is undeniably effective suspense-horror, and Bertino stages quiet chills and short, sharp shocks with a technical expertise which suggests he has a future if he ever grows a heart … This shows only a relentless commitment to being no fun at all, which is vaguely admirable but ultimately self-defeating.” Kim Newman, Empire

Cast and characters:

  • Liv Tyler as Kristen McKay
  • Scott Speedman as James Hoyt
  • Gemma Ward as Dollface
  • Kip Weeks as Man in the Mask
  • Glenn Howerton as Mike
  • Laura Margolis as Pin-up girl
  • Alex Fisher and Peter Clayton-Luce as Mormon boys

Filming locations and release:

Ten miles outside of Florence, South Carolina, USA

Principal filming began on October 10, 2006, and finished in early 2007, and, after two postponements, it was released theatrically on May 30, 2008, in North America.

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Categories: 2000s, home invasion

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