The horrifying events that took place in the Hoyt family's vacation home 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 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?” Writer/director Bryan Bertino explores our most universal fears in The Strangers, a terrifying suspense thriller about a couple whose remote getaway becomes a place of terror when masked strangers invade. The confrontation forces Kristen and James to go far beyond what they thought themselves capable of if they hope to survive
"The Strangers" on its own is a highly taut thriller packed with tension that will cause you to grind your teeth and inch ever closer to the front of your seat. While perhaps a bit slow paced at times the movie does a good job and making the hairs at the nape of your neck stand on end in anticipation of attacks and scares. There are many jump scares contained within, as well as some violence blood to spice things up.
The video is presented on the disk quite will in the dying days of the DVD format. Crisp and clean showing subdued colors and the like in well lit and expected fashion. A highlight for this disk is the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. In quite honest fashion, the sound effects packed into the rear speakers go a long ways towards making "The Strangers" as scary as it is. The movie relies heavily on sound queues of creaking doors and pondering footsteps sounding off throughout the shadows of the house and are brought to life in great fashion. You'll catch your self checking your six repeatedly as you could have sworn you heard someone in your hallway.
The biggest bonus feature on "The Strangers" DVD is that it offers both the theatrical cut and the unrated cut of the movie packaged together on one disk. Both offer DD5.1 sound and are both well packaged. There is only a two minute playback difference between the two cuts, so there isn't that significant of a difference between the two. But, there are some lingering camera shots on the violence and gore; here at Cinema Fromage, that's always a bonus!
Also packaged in with the two cuts of the movie are a deleted scenes feature as well as "The Elements of Terror", a short behind the scenes look at the making of "The Strangers". Deleted scenes are standard fare these days; a handful of disjointed and out of context scenes that aren't nearly as interesting as they would be in context. Behind the scenes features are always fun however and "The Elements of Terror" is no exception.
"The Strangers" gets 7 out of 10 for the movie itself, 8 out of 10 for the DVD. Deleted scenes fail to draw any interest whatsoever but packaging both cuts of the movie as well as a nice featurette are both nice touches.
"The Strangers" streets on Tuesday October 21st. For some extra awesomeness, Cinema Fromage and Bloody Good Horror have teamed together to bring you a kick ass Strangers giveaway! You have until Wednesday the 22nd to enter to win a copy of the DVD, 3 halloween masks from the movie, as well as a Tshirt! Sign up and tell them Cinema Fromage sent ya!