Feb 202018
 

The Strangers is a movie that still holds up today as it did 10 years ago. Its simplicity, and restraint of using jump scares, really helps it stand out from others in the thriller/horror genre even when character development is, at best, minimal.

 

 

The Strangers
— Collector’s Edition —
(2008)

Genre(s): Suspense/Thriller, Horror
Shout Factory | R/Unrated – 81 min. / 88 min. – $34.93 | March 6, 2018

Date Published: 02/20/2018 | Author: The Movieman


MOVIE INFO:
Directed by: Bryan Bertino
Writer(s): Bryan Bertino (written by)
Cast: Liv Tyler, Scott Speedman
DISC INFO:
Features: Featurettes, Deleted Scenes, Still Gallery, Trailers
Digital Copy: No
Formats Included: Blu-ray
Number of Discs: 2
Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 5.1)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 2.35
Subtitles: English SDH
Disc Size: 40.0 GB
Codecs: MPEG-4 AVC
Region(s): A

 


THE MOVIE — 3.75/5


This portion was copied from my 2008 DVD review and still reflects my thoughts today.

Writer/director Bryan Bertino’s psychological thriller, The Strangers, is a throwback to the Hitchcock classics with modern day suspense.

The Strangers is a simple film starring Scott Speed and Liv Tyler as James Hoyt and Kristen McKay, a couple whose relationship, as the movie starts, is on the brinks of breakup. They’ve come from a wedding reception and are staying the night at Hoyt’s family summer home. Things get worse when at 4 a.m. they get a knock at the door from a young woman who has apparently gotten the wrong house (she didn’t) and apparently leaves as quickly as she came (again, she didn’t).

Even after this semi-unsettling encounter, Kristen badly needs cigarettes and being the dutiful soon-to-be ex-boyfriend, James goes out to get them. While he’s away, strange things begin to happen as there are more knocks at the door, windows, other weird sounds around the house and… somebody apparently has gotten inside! After being terrorized for a bit, James finally comes home to find Kristen in absolute hysterics and soon the terror begins once again as three masked STRANGERS have sabotaged any kind of escape from burning the car, destroying cell phones and cutting the phone line. They’ve also broken down the oddly fragile front door so any refuge inside has been thwarted.

The Strangers was actually a surprisingly great suspense thriller that keeps you hooked from start to finish. The movie has a running time of 85 minutes (not inc. credits) and it is masterfully paced and written, even with a simple story. Add to that a fine performance from Liv Tyler does an excellent job going beyond just a scream queen.

As someone who loves psychological thrillers, I basically loved every minute of this movie.

On a side note, why is it so many homes in these movies, and in real life for that matter, do not have peep holes? Would make things so much easier for folks being randomly terrorized by three masked crazies…

 

SPECIAL FEATURES – 3.5/5


This release comes with a matted slip cover and the interior cover is reversible revealing the film’s original poster artwork. This comes with both the R-rated and Unrated versions, each on separate discs. The features from the original Universal Blu-ray/DVD were ported over.

Disc 1 (Theatrical Version):
The Element of Terror (9:12; HD) is a making-of featurette that includes interviews with members of the cast and crew including writer/director Bryan Bertino, actress Liv Tyler amongst others.

Strangers at the Door (9:37; HD) – This featurette delves into the terror elements of the script.

Deleted Scenes (4:56; SD) – There are a few scenes that were cut down or removed, probably for pacing reasons. Presented in non-anamorphic widescreen.

Last up are TV Spots (1:34; SD) and the Theatrical Trailer (1:11; HD).

Disc 2 (Unrated Version):
Interviews:

  • Defining Moments (29:37; HD) – Writer/Director Bryan Bertino
  • All the Right Moves (11:34; HD) – Actor Kip Weeks (Man in the Mask)
  • Brains and Brawn (13:44; HD) – Actress Laura Margolis (Pin Up Girl)
  • Deep Cuts (20:29; HD) – Editor Kevin Greuert

These were pretty enjoyable, Bertino in particular talking about how he came up with the concept behind The Strangers (dating back to his childhood when a stranger came by while he and his sister were alone). Also nice hearing from the two actors whose faces we never did get to see in the movie.

Still Gallery (4:02; HD) featuring production photos as well as variety of poster art.

 


VIDEO – 4.5/5


The Strangers stalks and scares its way onto Blu-ray through Shout Factory’s Scream line, presenting the film in its original 2.35 widescreen aspect ratio and a 1080p high-definition transfer, this one mastered from the 2K digital intermediate with the Unrated version using HD inserts for the additional footage. The picture looks great, detail is relatively sharp, colors do have a good amount of pop and dark levels, for which there is plenty to judge, is deep without appearing too severe and still displaying on-screen objects or persons.

AUDIO – 4.75/5


The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track I assume is about the same as the one on the Blu-ray, but even if that were the case, this sounded absolutely fantastic. The bass goes into overdrive from the beginning and is sporadically used with more and more towards the climax while dialogue levels, coming primarily through the center channel, sounds crisp, clean and clear.

 


OVERALL – 4.25/5


Overall, The Strangers is a movie that still holds up today as it did 10 years ago. Its simplicity, and restraint of using jump scares, really helps it stand out from others in the thriller/horror genre even when character development is, at best, minimal albeit just enough to care about their plight. This “Collector’s Edition” Blu-ray released by Shout Factory is well done with some decent new features and an upgraded video transfer and quality audio track.

 

 

 

 

Check out some more 1080p screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.

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