The Strangers (2008) - Unrated [Blu-ray]

Genre(s): Horror / Thriller
Universal || Unrated - 86 minutes - $39.98 || October 21, 2008
Reviewer: Brad Lowenberg || Posted On: 2008-10-05


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

B L U - R A Y
.:: EXCLUSIVES ::.

Blu-ray Exclusives

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Bryan Bertino
Writer(s): Bryan Bertino (written by)
Cast: Scott Speedman, Liv Tyler


Theatrical Release Date: May 30, 2008


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • The Elements of Terror
  • Deleted Scenes
  • MyScenes (BD Exclusive)


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (2.35)
  • English (DTS MA 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

"What you are about to see is inspired by true events. According to the FBI, there are an estimated 1.4 million violent crimes in America each year. On the night of February 11, 2005, Kristen McKay and James Hoyt left a friend's wedding reception and returned to the Hoyt family's summer home. The brutal events that took place there are still not entirely known".

After a night of disappointment, Kristen (Liv Tyler) and James (Scott Speedman) try to settle in at their cabin retreat when they suddenly hear a knock at the door... at 4 a.m. They answer to find a blond girl asking if someone was home. After they establish with her that no one by that name lives there, she leaves. James leaves in his truck to go get a pack of cigarettes while Kristen remains home alone when the knocking occurs... only this time it won't stop. After James returns back to the cabin odd things start happening and they begin to feel terrorized by a group of unknown individuals with no motives for the chaos.

If I were to go on any further I would ruin the rest of the film for you. The film has a very easy to follow plot and rather than being a blood-drenched flick (there is very little) it tends to focus more on suspense and terror. What I liked about it the most was the fact that it tried to do what the original Halloween did and that was to create a great atmosphere, good set of characters and leave us with the possibility of a sequel.

Don't be fooled by the "based on a true story" line at the start of the film - itís a lie. The only "true" portion of the film is that as a child the Director (Bryan Bernito) had a stranger knock on his door asking if someone lived there (which they did not). Later he found out some of his neighbors had their house broken into. Yeah, pretty lame for being based on a "true story".

My only big complaint about the film would be the dampened relationship between Kristen and James. While it was some-what explained through flashbacks (of what happened earlier in the night) it didn't seem very necessary for them to be in such turmoil right from the get-go. A smaller complaint is the use of the typical scare tactics often employed in the teen slasher films where something startling happens (cat jumps into frame). While itís used very sparingly through this film, it still seemed a bit out of place.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

This release includes a nice shiny slip cover.

The Elements of Terror (9 Minutes; HD) - No, this is not a "horror" film itís a "terror" film... that's the first thing you hear when you boot this feature up. While very short, it just us some information on location scouting and how they did some of the effects in the film.

Deleted Scenes (5 Minutes; SD) - Here we get one scene extension and another that gives us some background information on Kirsten's family. Yawn.

MyScenes (Profile 2.0 Only) - This little feature allows you to bookmark your favorite scene to watch later or share them with friends via BD-Live. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **

...That's it! A whole 15 minutes of special features.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

The Strangers is presented in 2.25:1 (VC1) on a 25GB Disc. The film has a great nitty gritty feel and it comes to Blu-ray with the same great look you would expect. While I was not blown away at all in the picture department several things did pop out of me that I wouldn't have noticed if I had been watching the DVD. Colors are a bit dull but blacks look exceptionally well.

Universal has included probably one of their best DTS MA mixes to date with this release. Everything about it screens amazing. While the film starts off a bit slow...about fifteen minutes into the film we get the sound of a pounding at the door...and from there, we have so many different things happening from knocks on the window to bushes being ruffled that you really feel that you are in this small house being assaulted. Dialog is incredibly clear which makes this title a perfect Audio release.



.::OVERALL::.

The Strangers is an excellent film that will remain in my horror collection for years to come. While there have been numerous slasher flicks I've had to suffer through, The Strangers is none of that - it gives us an involving story that has already garnered enough praise to get a sequel green lit. The Blu-ray sports decent picture quality and an amazing DTS MA track. While it lacks special features I'm willing to forgive that simply because the film and sound is so damn awesome.