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PCR #427 (Vol. 9, No. 22) This edition is for the week of May 26--June 1, 2008.

This Week's PCR
Movie Review
"The Strangers"

Movie review by:
Michael A. Smith

Movies are rated 0 to 4 stars

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Starring: Scott Speedman and Liv Tyler
Directed by: Bryan Bertino
Rated: R
Running Time: 1 hour 21 mins

“The following is based on a true story.” Or so goes the opening of many films. “The Hills Have Eyes?” Check. “Fargo?” You betcha. “The Blair Witch Project?” Hardly. “The Strangers” begins with the above mentioned warning. And while there is a jolt or two in the new film, “The Strangers,” the majority of the scares are telegraphed from a mile away thanks to the uninspired camera work and “script” by director Bryan Bertino, making his feature film debut here. I emphasize the word script because there are maybe 35 words in the whole film. The rest is screaming, yelling and any other variation meaning “to shout,

James (Speedman) and Kristen (Tyler) are heading home after attending a wedding. Clue #1 that things are about to go wrong: neither are talking to each other. Seems James thought the romantic atmosphere would be a good place to propose marriage. Nope! Now in their country home the couple are greeted with a knock on the door. A strange girl looking for a name neither of them know. Sorry, wrong house. Or is it?

Many ingredients are needed for a “thriller” to be successful, but the most important is don’t insult your audience. Films like “The Sixth Sense” and “Psycho” keep you guessing because they are smartly written and directed. “The Strangers” looks like a student film made at a friend’s house where the only direction given to the cast was to scream. It doesn’t help that nothing plausible happens. The characters keep restarting the same album on the turntable, only to have a different song play each time on the soundtrack. James remarks that he hasn’t heard a dog bark or a car pass, yet when he goes outside to find all of his car windows smashed he takes it in stride. Hmmmmmm, didn’t hear that either. And of course, the majority of the tension created would easily dissipate if SOMEONE WOULD JUST TURN ON A LIGHT! The group taunting James and Kristen are a trio of fast moving, mask wearing yahoos that spend the majority of the film peeking in windows and then seem to realize they’re the bad guys five minutes before the film ends. Boo! The only positive here is Tyler, who sadly doesn’t have much to do but run around and breathe heavy. I’m pleased to report that she does both admirably.

On a scale of zero to four stars, I give “The Strangers”


This week's movie review of "The Strangers" is ©2008 by Michael A. Smith.  All graphics this page are creations of Nolan B. Canova, ©2008, all rights reserved. All contents of "Nolan's Pop Culture Review" are ©2008 by Nolan B. Canova.