The Strangers Movie Poster Image

The Strangers

(i)

 

Spooky horror film has both tension and gore.
Popular with kids
  • Review Date: May 28, 2008
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Horror
  • Release Year: 2008
  • Running Time: 90 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Villains terrorize their victims randomly, just because they're there.

Violence

Beatings, stabbings, and shootings, with plenty of suspense building up to each violent act. Each act is shown in full, along with the grim aftermath. Extensive physical peril, copious amounts of blood, brief-yet-graphic shots of grievously wounded and dead bodies. People are beaten senseless then dragged; characters are shown with wounds and injuries; characters are repeatedly stabbed onscreen while tied and helpless.

Sex

Characters kiss, with the suggestion that they're about to have sex (underthings are removed, pants unbuckled) ... before other events intrude on the mood.

Language

Language includes a few non-sexual uses of "f--k," plus "bitch" and "sucks."

Consumerism

No prominent brands/products.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Characters drink champagne and beer; Tyler's character smokes cigarettes.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that plenty of blood is spilled in this grisly, tense, very scary horror movie. Characters are stabbed, beaten, and shot, often very graphically. That said, unlike many others in the horror genre, the film doesn't sexualize its terror, and the characters in peril aren't just sacrificial lambs -- the filmmakers make you care about them. Some teens who aren't necessarily gung-ho horror fans may be drawn in by stars Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman -- but even though the film is well-made and, by the standards of the genre, "tasteful," there's still plenty of shocking violence and high-strung tension (not to mention some swearing, drinking, and smoking), making it better suited for older viewers with strong nerves.

What's the story?

After a wedding reception, James (Scott Speedman) and Kristen (Liv Tyler) make their way to his family's home in the country. They're clearly upset, and viewers see in flashback how, earlier that night, they had a mild falling out that they're now trying to work through. But then a stranger repeatedly comes to the door in the wee hours of the morning asking for someone who isn't there. And as their isolated home comes under siege from three masked strangers with evil intentions, James and Kristen realize that they've got bigger problems.

Is it any good?

QUALITY

When the scary stuff starts, it's very scary stuff -- plenty of jumps and jolts and moments when you'll be shouting at the screen. Watching THE STRANGERS, it's clear that writer-director Bryan Bertino has studied the classic horror directors: There are hints of everyone from Alfred Hitchcock to Wes Craven in his camera work, composition, and editing. He also takes the time to establish his lead characters as people we're interested in, not just disposable victims; Speedman and Tyler both make their roles (no pun intended) come alive.

Much like the recent Funny Games, much of The Strangers revolves around the threat of random terror coming to (and through) your front door; James and Kristen haven't done anything to deserve their torment at the hands of the three intruders aside from being home -- which is fairly terrifying to contemplate. The Strangers is violent, visceral stuff, to be sure, but it's also well-made and more thoughtful than it could have been; weighed against the gory, boring Hostel and Saw films, The Strangers feels like a chilling breath of fresh air. Sure, the film includes an all-too-standard set-up for a sequel, but at the same time, while it's happening, The Strangers works as a well-made example of a film that delivers the squirmy, spooky, artificially-induced anxiety we hope to feel when we go to a horror film.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about what makes a "good" horror film and what makes a "bad" one? Why do we seek out the artificially induced sense of apprehension and stress that horror films offer us? Why is it so much fun to be scared at the movies? Also, many horror films depict random grisly crimes -- do you think these movies reflect the reality of violent crime, or do they create (and possibly perpetuate) myths and misperceptions?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:May 28, 2008
DVD release date:October 20, 2008
Cast:Glenn Howerton, Liv Tyler, Scott Speedman
Director:Bryan Bertino
Studio:Rogue Pictures
Genre:Horror
Run time:90 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:violence/terror and some language.

This review of The Strangers was written by

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Quality

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 14 years old Written byeazy__breezy December 16, 2014

Freakin Scary

Really short though, could have been scarier.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Kid, 11 years old October 9, 2014

excellent

it is a great mysterious true story. it has a great story and it is not one of those movies that's all about gore. this movie is about shock . I like those kinds of movies
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Adult Written byM&M1995 July 28, 2014

Horror movie with believable premise is more suspenseful than scary.

I saw The Strangers on my 13th birthday when it was first released in theatres, and the content was actually pretty tame. The film starts off calm and serene, and then quickly kicks off into a thrilling, heart-stopping ride. There is no blood or gore (except for the last scene), and the movie is not exceptionally scary. The Strangers is very heavy on the creepy factor though, and it has a few jump scares. The main characters in the movie curse when they are under intense stress and fear. There is no sexual content in the film, however at the beginning the couple are seen having a somewhat romantic evening and drinking wine. There are a few kisses as well. Overall a good horror flick that is not too terrifying for younger teens.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing

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