I actually saw The Strangers opening weekend, on June 2nd, but I have been mentally dealing with it since and unable to write until now, haha.
The plot is simple enough. A couple (well played by Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman) retreats back to the family's house in the woods after a fight only to be terrorized and brutally tortured by a group of masked strangers that takeover their house.
I think the horror actually lies in the simplicity. This could happen. There were no elaborate special effects, and the movie didn't have much dialogue. But, the fact remains that these two were victims from the start.
The movie sets it up for you and shows the ending first. The audience knowsss the outcome, making it that much more difficult to watch the movie play out. The masked strangers play a senseless and sadistic game of cat and mouse, and caught off guard in the middle of nowhere, the couple is literally helpless.
The silly and superficial reason it scared me so much?
Those freaking masks!!! The blank faces of a potato sack mask, a dollface, and a pin-up girl will haunt your dreams, no kidding. And if this movie really does well in its theater run, I'll bet money that the potato sack mask will be a popular lazy Halloween costume for the next few years (I mean the Scream mask was hot for a good 5 years. Hell I even saw people last year still rocking it.).
The deeper, philosophical (yes, I really did use the word, "philosophical" for a horror movie review) reason it scared me so much?
This was just one more indication that if people are really twisted enough in the head, it's really simple to plan an act and victimize people. It happened in the school shootings at Columbine and Virginia Tech. It happened on 9/11. It happens everyday when people plot and break into people's homes and places of business. Scary. That is why I couldn't go home alone after the movie and had to sit with my friend and watch hours of SATC to eradicate bad thoughts floating through my head.
This movie did its job. It scared the living daylights out of me. I'd even venture to say that this was the best horror movie I've seen in a long time.
I always know I've found a good movie if I'm still pondering it days afterward... The Strangers was on my mind for about a week. I've heard that the movie was inspired in part by the Charles Manson murders...another creepy twist.
Anyone know anything about how the Manson murders connect to the story? The CSI, Criminal Minds, and SVU-lover in me would love to hear.