Daniel’s Critical Corner: “The Strangers”

That’s The LAST Time I Touch Peter Jackson’s Stupid Oscar !

~ Hello Everyone ~
Welcome To Daniel’s Critical Corner !
Today We Will Be Getting To Know:  The Strangers

Horrifying…  Cutting Edge…  The Last Word In TERROR.

That is how I would describe “The Exorcist”.  Sadly, today I am reviewing “The
Strangers”, and my words of choice will be FAR from flattering. Please, be warned,
there will be tons of BLOOD SOAKED spoilers.  But, it would probably behoove you
to read on.    

To be honest, half the time I thought I was watching “Scary Movie”…  This film
has so many “Don’t Go In There” moments it’s almost comical.  Now, people getting
tortured is never funny, (unless you are watching “The View”).  But this sick little film
manages to garner a giggle under even the most brutal of circumstances.  But enough
about Liv Tyler’s acting…

Everything starts out rather slow.  We first see both Scott Speedman (Underworld) 
 and Liv Tyler (Middle-Earth) having an argument.  They are just another young couple
with their fair share of problems.  To patch things up, they go to a remote mansion
in the woods.  Most people have cabins, but these folks have what appears to be a
castle.  Go figure.  Anyway, there are rose petals thrown all over the place and a few
candles set about for romantic “ambiance”.

Setting the mood further, their pad is equipped with an antique record player.  They
play more old country music than the soundtrack to “Brokeback Mountain”, but before
anyone can say “I wish I knew how to quit you”, there is an ominous knock at the front
door.  Thinking it’s probably just the Girl Scouts, our hapless couple decide to answer,    
only to find a young woman standing in the shadows.  Despite being four o’clock in the 
morning, this chick asks if someone named “Tamara” is home…  How rude.  Aren’t  
strangers supposed to CALL first or something ? 

She is politely told that she has the wrong house.  With her head down, this
mysterious figure vanishes into the bleak darkness…  Only to return a few
minutes later wearing a creepy doll mask !!! 


Hello Dolly !


This woman is a total nut, and she has brought back a couple of weirdos with her.
 Some guy dressed as “The Scarecrow” from Batman Begins and some chick dressed as 
“Betty Boop”…  Horror is supposed to ensue as these masked marauders terrorize the
household.  At first, I wasn’t too worried about our heroes.  Turns out, they have TWO 
loaded shotguns in the house, plenty of knives and a chainsaw.  Not to mention, they
have a two-way radio, two cell phones, a land line and access to a couple of vehicles.

I was sure they would get the upper hand against the “strangers” who want to harm
them.  I mean, all these crazies have is an ax.  That’s right.  One shiny ax.  Nothing 
more, nothing less.  However, in a shocking plot twist, we learn that the victims are
RETARDED.  They have no clue what a gun is, or for that matter, how to use it.  

Once they “figure” out how to pull the trigger, they shoot at anything that moves
before seeing who or what it is.  First, they put COUNTLESS holes in the walls.  To 
match the COUNTLESS holes in the plot perhaps ?  Then they manage to blow away
their best friend (who ironically just cancelled a hunting trip with Dick Cheney).  And,
to top it all off,  they hit a couple of nuns AND a horse.  OK, maybe I exaggerated   
the last part a little bit…  What it boils down to is the bad guys never actually get
shot (but EVERYTHING and EVERYONE else does).    

Of course, our couple also LOVES to split up. “You wait here.  I’ll be right back” ! 
And it seems to make sense (at least to them) to leave their guns in other rooms
while they investigate strange noises…  It doesn’t matter how many phones they
have, as they only like to call each other, and not 911.  I think one of them calls
a psychic hotline for advice on what to do.  But the police seem to be last on  
their list.


If They Walk Through That Door, I’ll Clobber Em’ With My “Shoot Stick”  


One scene in particular that stands out in my mind (yes, I did laugh), is when
our beautiful heroine sneaks back into the house after having a run-in with an
ax-wielding maniac !!!  She is trying to be quiet, but she trips and lands on a 
table full of plates.  There is a huge CRASH… Then she backs up into a wall,
knocking down a picture and shattering the glass frame.  She shrieks, (and
only covers her mouth after the fact). As she raises her arm up, she bumps
  her elbow into a shelf of porcelain figurines, tipping a couple of those over.  

Realizing at this point she’s been “made” (Duh) she runs to the kitchen to hide
in the pantry.  After slamming the door she bumps into a shelf full of jellies,  
which rattles very loudly as a couple of jars fall to the ground. Oh Puhleeze !

Perhaps all of this is supposed to add to the “suspense”, but instead it generates
plenty of unintentional humor.   Early on, this movie does have some rather tense
moments…   “The Strangers” at least starts off very atmospheric.  Some creepy,  
dark piano music (mixed with the record player skipping) managed to invoke in me
memories of the horror classic “The Evil Dead”.  But soon it devolves into nothing
more than parlor tricks and cheap scares. (Probably not so cheap if you have
shelled out ten bucks for a ticket) !

    Yes, I went from being on the edge of my seat one moment, to almost laughing
  hysterically the next…  But the smile was wiped off my face when I had to sit
   through the sick, horrible and disturbing end.  I won’t go into many details, but it
     involves (not kidding) two Mormon missionaries and a blood-curdling scream.  
  LAME !!!  

Remember kids, look both ways before you cross the street, and of course
 avoid “Strangers” at ALL COSTS !


Would I Recommend This ?  No

Daniel’s Critical Rating:  “5” out of “10”