The Strangers is a personal and intimate look into a couple’s life. Their life is interrupted when they get a visit from some unwelcome strangers. Cory and Darrell close out the Based On True Crime triple with this frightening film.
James Hoyt (Scott Speedman) and Kristen McKay (Liv Tyler) are leaving a wedding and heading off to his family’s house in the country. We have a long car ride in complete silence. James & Kristen don’t speak until they get into the house. We slowly get the backstory that they are a couple and he had popped the question at the wedding. He and their friends had decorated the house with rose petals and set up for a romantic getaway. Kristen loves him but is not sure she is ready for marriage yet. He is a gentleman and gives her space. They discuss things and begin to move back towards love.
Their time is interrupted by a knock on the door. The first of the strangers, we come to know her as Dollface (Gemma Ward), is looking for Tamara. They can’t see her face because the porch light is out. She leaves, but the romantic mood is broken. James heads out to buy Kristen some cigarettes. While he is gone, there is banging all around the house. The Man in the Mask (Kip Weeks), Dollface and Pin-Up Girl (Laura Margolis) are all outside the house doing things to frighten her. She calls James on the land line because her phone is dead. She plugs it up and grabs a knife. Her phone is tossed into the fire and she finds the smoke detector on a chair (when she knows she had knocked it onto the floor earlier). So the strangers are in the house.
The strangers pull back when James arrives. He searches the house. The strangers take his phone battery and begin to frighten them. They make a run for the car. But are stopped on all sides by the strangers. Their car is disabled and later set on fire. They begin to fight the strangers, but there are too many of them and they are out of communication. James finds a shotgun and has fired at the Man in the Mask. James and Kristen are forced into the bedroom and are making a stand there. Little do they know, James’ friend Mike (Glenn Howerton), who James called for a ride earlier, arrives at the house. Mike enters quietly and sees the destruction. He quietly walks up the hall, followed by the Man in the Mask. James hears the noise and kills Mike.
Devastated and mad James makes a run for the barn where there is a CB radio. Kristen stays at the house. James is attacked and taken out. Kristen goes for the barn, falls and injures herself then makes it in. She finds the radio but Pin-Up Girl smashes the radio before Kristen can make contact. She makes it back to the house but she is not safe there.
Man in the Mask throws James into the house and Kristen is in no position to help. The next morning the strangers have James dressed in his tux and Kristen in her dress. They are tied to chairs. Kristen asks why they are doing this. Dollface says, “because you were home.” The strangers take off their masks and begin to stab James and Kristen. Later she comes to and struggles to get to Mike’s phone. The Man in the Mask takes it and leaves.
On the street we see two Mormon missionary boys pushing their bikes. The strangers stop their truck and Dollface askes for their pamphlet. One of the two asks if she is a sinner, she says sometimes. The strangers leave with Pin-up Girl telling Dollface it will be easier next time. The boys find the house and are confronted by the horror. One reaches out to Kristen and she screams. Their call to 911 is what opens the film.
This movie was so tense. It is wild to think that their were only 8 people in the movie. The speed and action of the strangers in the movie had my head spinning. For a while, I didn’t catch that there were two women strangers. I loved the building of tension used from just James and Kristen hearing noises. The use of music by records on the record player felt so organic. The director, Bryan Bertino, was very masterful. While there is blood and gore, it is the suspense that Bertino uses to make this feel real and scary. He uses silence, bits of dialogue and action to put us into this situation and make it feel real. The story is based on a childhood experience of the writer, the Keddie Resort murders and the Manson Family murders. Overall a well shot and very suspenseful movie.
The score was by tomandandy. The Score used many songs, literal needle drops, but the most iconic was “Mama Tried” by Merle Haggard and The Strangers.
You can find the soundtrack by tomandandy here.
Name That Movie:
The clue this week was: We left off with 50 First Dates. The movie has a brief cameo from Dan Aykroyd. Dan also appeared in this absolute tearjerker of a movie set in the 1970’s
Which lead us to the following movie: The movie was My Girl.
The Next Triple: The next TripleCast is “movies that make you cry.” I’ll be joined by GSM host Barb Rankin (Witness Prophecies, Radio Static & Stuff I Learned Yesterday) and we’ll be discussing My Girl, The Notebook and Steel Magnolias.
Send in your Triplecast ideas, thoughts, memories and feedback by calling 304-837-2278 or by visiting www.goldenspiralmedia.com/feedback[sc:tc]