The Strangers

Rated 4.0

While I’m no fan of people-on-people horror, I must admit that The Strangers is one surprisingly effective piece of craftsmanship, a nuts-’n’-bolts psychological thriller stripped of genre bells-’n’-whistles. Gen X couple James (Scott Speedman) and Kristen (Liv Tyler) are having a bad night. They are at a literal crossroads in their relationship, vulnerable and isolated while in the same car, thinking that they are at the worst moment of their lives, but in reality still a short drive away. Arriving at a remote sanctuary where it seems that they’re the last people left on Earth, they set about figuring out where they’re going to go from there. And then there is a knock on the door … Despite the premise, The Strangers is not a splatter film. It’s just a lean, mean horror machine that economically sets up the home-invasion premise and then almost immediately sets about laying down with the dread—sparse dialogue, sparse characterization and more than a little ambiguity.