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Genre: Thriller
Starring: Liv Tyler, Scott Speedman, Gemma Ward, Kip Weeks, Laura Margolis, Glenn Howerton
Director: Bryan Bertino
Rating: PG (Violence and Frightening Scenes)
Year Made: 2008



- Deleted Scenes
- The Elements of Terror



Languages: English
Subtitles: English/Chinese
Aspect Ratio: 16x9 Letterbox
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1
Running Time: 1 hr 25 mins
Region Code: 3
Distributor: Alliance Entertainment
Official Website:




The horrifying events that took place in the Hoyt family's vacation home at 1801 Clark Road on February 11, 2005, are still not entirely known.

Champagne. Rose petals. Candlelight. It was supposed to be a night of celebration for Kristen McKay (Liv Tyler) and James Hoyt (Scott Speedman). But after leaving a friend's wedding reception and returning to the house, everything had collapsed for the happy couple.

Then came a 4 a.m. knock on the door and a haunting voice.

Is Tamara here?


Recently there are a couple of horror / terror movies appearing on our local screens that are based on actual events. If you are a horror movie bluff, you would recall the Thai horrors such as The House and The Screen which had the “based on actual events” tag appearing right in their movies. The problem that binds all these three reality based horror movies (including this one) is the simple lack of a good horror plot that make sense and satisfy.

An ironic twist as since it’s supposedly based on what an event that actually happened before, it should be quite scary as the horrifying events that transpired on screen actually happened to someone in real life before. The problem that lies here is either that the filmmakers didn’t personally go through and experience those actual scary moments in someone’s life and / or probably relied on their imagination after reading headlines of such horror stories from newspaper. While some filmmakers are apt at creating a solid horror flick, some aren’t that skillful even with a reality based horror story.

In Bryan Bertino’s direction, The Strangers felt pointlessly empty in the plot development aspects and overly long for a film that 76 odd mins long (san credits which run up to 85mins long). Basically the whole point of this movie was to have a couple who is having some troubles of their own, encountering a bunch of people with violent tendencies and being confined to a location while suffering to the Strangers mental and physical tortures (much like Vacancy except it’s darker and more serious here).

The movie relies a lot on atmospheric tension to drum up the fear factors in this movie. While there are a couple truly scary “scare a second” moments that horror film makers’ wannabe should learn from, this film took a long period to build up these atmospheric horror moments. Those long moments are usually spent with the two main leads wandering around aimlessly in fears, pondering over their own troubles and while the audience are about to fall asleep, the film creep up with a sudden knock or two. Although it’s is effective in it’s own ways, it still feel like an awful time waster.

The unpleasantness of this film was extended in the classic silly manner that the two protagonists dealt with the Strangers infliction of terror on them. Besides making the classic horror mistake of splitting up in face of unknown terror, there were a couple silly classic mistakes that the couple makes during their attempt to escape that made it hard to sympathize with the outcome that these couple gotten in the end.

However there was one scene that stood out and it happened when one of the couple’s friend came over to help out with the couple’s problem. He walked into a house that clearly been invaded by some unknown perpetrators and wasn’t sure if those perpetrators were still around. It created an intriguing notion that whether one should call out the names of his friends or quietly investigate the scene. It was played out in one of the most wicked and gruesome scene in this movie and was the only moment that shines for this otherwise aimless and draggy movie.

Ironically, if you do a search for the Hoyt Family murder at 1801 Clark Road, there are internet sites that states the reports of the murders had been wiped clean by family members. No matter how advance technology gets nowadays, it just felt rather unbelievable that such feat could be achieved and the reality that The Strangers is based on seems to be an outright phony after all.


Deleted Scenes

There are two deleted scenes (“James reflects at the Bar” and “Bathroom Discussion”) provided in this segment. While both seemly removed for pacing purposes, “James reflects at the Bar” looked liked it’s almost a finished piece while the “Bathroom Discussion” seems more raw and far from the finished product.

The Elements of Terrors

Although not listed on the Dvd’s back cover, the Special Features (or Extras as we called it) comes with an additional making off segment, titled as The Elements of Terrors. This 9 mins odd feature include an explanation on rationale of the horror that the filmmakers are trying to inflict on the audience. In the short 9 mins runtime, it also tried to include a wide range of the works that done behind the scenes such as the special make up, the set and sound effects.


As a movie that used a lot of atmospheric tension as it main driving force, it relies a lot on the usage of audio and video to scares the viewers. The mixing of the audio was well enough to emphasize on the sudden terrorizing knockings on the door.



Review by Richard Lim Jr


. The Strangers (Movie Review)

Other titles from Alliance Entertainment:

. Asylum

. Bangkok Dangerous

. Babylon A.D.

. Journey to the Center of the Earth

. Desert Saints

. The Dark Knight

. Horton

. Right At Your Door

. Deception

. Doomsday

. Never Back Down

. Virgin Territory

. Shutter

. Little Fish

. Shanghai Kiss

This review is made possible with the kind support from
Alliance Entertainment


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