Wednesday, 17 October 2012

31 Days Of Horror - Day 17: The Strangers (2008)

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A young couple staying in an isolated vacation home are terrorized by three unknown assailants.

One of the biggest fears people have, including me, is some breaking in-to your home. Peoples homes are supposed to be a place of security, our safe zone, so when that sanctity is disturbed it can become a terrifying experience. So with that in mind we have the film "The Strangers".


Who doesn't enjoy a good home invasion movie?! It's one of the few sub-genres that deals with life's true fears and when you get a film that can touch on a fear like this it can make for great viewing. It's the kind of film that has you checking your locks whilst the credits are rolling and will also keep you on your toes for a few days after.

"The Strangers" is a great addition to the genre, but of-course that's just my opinion as I know A-lot of people who disagree with me. I was a little iffy about watching the film as I'm usually not a fan of Liv Tyler's work but she put it an amazing performance here and I'm always happy to see someone in the business prove me wrong. Also the mute performances of the villains made for great tension, very well played out.


The film says it's based on a true story, but which story? It depends on who you listen to, some have said the film was based on the 1981 Keddie Resort murders, Writer/'director Bryan Bertino said the film was inspired by the infamous Manson murders. But also according to Bertino the film is based on an incident he experienced as a child. One evening, a stranger came to his door, asked for someone who wasn't there, and left. Later, Bertino found out that other homes in his neighbourhood had been broken into that night.

So is it a mixture of the stories or a wild goose chase to keep us guessing? Only Bryan Bertino truly knows but I have to admit I actually like the fact that we can't pin it to one story, it gives it more of a mystique. The film was shot entirely with hand-held cameras and steady cams, every shot has some camera movement and whilst this put a-lot of people off I found it worked great for the film, it gave it more of an eerie feeling.


Despite many horror fans criticisms I absolutely loved this movie and think it deserves more credit, I also have high hopes for the upcoming sequel ,"The Strangers 2". If you like a good home invasion movie then I highly recommend this, give it a try.

If you want to see "The Strangers" trailer then just click on the video below:


Miscellaneous facts about the film:

Originally scheduled for release in summer 2007. After 2 delays, it was released May 30, 2008.

In one scene, Merle Haggard's "Mama Tried" plays loudly on the record player. His band was "The Strangers."

Mark Romanek was originally slated to direct the film.

Many theaters across the United States were sent faulty reels of the movie, containing sound problems, which made a few minutes to several scenes of the movie filled with nothing but static.

Liv Tyler suffered from tonsillitis during shooting.

The script was originally titled "The Faces."

According to Liv Tyler, the finale had much more interaction and dialogue between the victims and the villains in the original script. It was cut to keep the intruders mysterious and eerie.

Shot in chronological order.

The exterior shots of the house were filmed at an actual farm house. The film makers were surprised to discover the property had a barn, garage, a forest and a long enough road.

The film makers tried to design the house as one that "your brother could have lived in, that you could have grown up in" in order to make the audience feel more attached to the film.

The movie was not shot inside of an actual house, the interior of the home was built on a sound stage.

During filming, in order to get an actual reaction from Liv Tyler, Bryan Bertino would tell her where to expect a loud bang from, but would then have the loud noise come from a completely different direction.

Before filming any scene after The Strangers begin terrorizing the couple, Liv Tyler would have to run laps, do jumping jacks, and other physical activities to get her out of breath. This was so she would have the panicky feeling the real life characters would have been experiencing.

The car crash sequence was filmed in three takes.

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