Name: Instructor: Course: Date: Movie Review: The Strangers The Strangers is a horror film released in 2008. The movie is directed by Bryan Bertino and stars Scott Speedman and Liv Tyler as the main characters. The other part of the cast includes Gemma Ward, Glenn Howerton, Kip Weeks, and Laura Margolis…
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The couple is already miserable due to a relationship crisis. This misery is made worse when the couple gets stalked and menaced by 3 masked strangers who are able to break into the house. Like the title of the movie suggests, the strangers are the 3 masked assailants. Their roles are played by Gemma Ward as Dollface, Laura Margolis as Pin-up Girl, and Kip Weeks as the man in the mask. The movie is more of a thriller than a horror film. Traditionally, horror movies adopt some sort of seemingly supernatural quality. This is something that mere mortals are not capable of escaping from or defeating. First, the movie lacks the element of surprise that is crucial for horror movies. For example, the director shows the movie’s ending at the beginning. While it works for some other types of movie genres, it does not work in horror films. In the introduction, a title screen says that the film is based on a true event, and FBI agents still are not aware of what happened to the couple. Therefore, as the movie begins, the viewer already knows that the couple is going to die. This eliminates the element of surprise; the viewer can only wait to see how James and Kristen die. Another notable aspect in the film is that it does not explain or expound on why the 3 masked assailants are stalking and menacing the young people. In horror movies, evil happens and does what it does for a reason. However, The Strangers does not portray this aspect. For example, the only insight that the viewer gets about why the masked assailants act the way they do comes in the form of an answer that one of the assailants gives to Liv Tyler’s question. Kristen asks, “Why are you doing this to us?” The response provided by the assailants is that “because you were home”. This leaves a vague twist to the plot. It is for this reason that the movie fails to establish any from of plot. For example, the two main characters are a couple, and Kristen has recently declined James’ marriage proposal. This fails to connect with the arrival of the 3 masked assailants. Take an example of the movie The Final Destination, the horror movie gradually builds its plot before the viewer finally realizes that the vision of one of the actors has the clue to the deaths occurring to the people around. Drawing from the above comparison, the movie therefore lacks any sort of suspense. Instead, what is presented is a series of shock sequences that fail to create that horrific effect. The approach is rather obvious, and this makes the movie not so frightening to the audience. For example, the 3 assailants who terrorize James and Kristen are personally identified by their masks. Therefore, early on in the movie, the audience is already aware of the villains. This is not effective as having the couple being threatened or menaced by a person or creature that remains unseen for the greater part of the movie. This usually helps to create suspense before the particular person becomes known to the audience. It is true that the performances by Kristen (Liv Tyler) feel much more genuine. Kristen has a soft, doe-like nature, and this creates a perfect character that is vulnerable. She manages to portray a lot of terror. She is also quite genuine in other aspects of her performance in the movie. However, she does not manage to convey the slightest bit of believable emotion throughout the movie. Throughout the film, the threat of violence is rarely believable. The character portrayed by Tyler only
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