Wednesday, February 4, 2009

How Strange

There's a reason I love horror movies. Not so much my overwhelming desire to walk around and be scared out of my wits in my daily life, but rather the intense one-night stand with Lady Adrenaline that the really good ones bring about. Well, not to muse too much about that, it's discussed in greater detail in the not quite great libraries of activity that is my blog. Anyway, finding a good horror movie is always fun, and The Strangers, in that respect, gave me more fun than a barrel of zombie monkeys, that and a deep sense of dread.

Kristen and James retreats from a friends wedding to James' fathers summer home, they're both low in spirits because of a marriage proposal turned down, of course, being a horror movie, that won't be their chief concern. When James leaves to get cigarettes and Kristen is left alone in the dark, isolated house, you know things are going to get bad, and get bad quick.

It's this expectation that drives us through the beginning of the movie. In good slasher tradition, this girl should be slayed, bisected and wrapped up neatly in ten-fifteen minutes, all tension leaving the movie like it just remembered it left the kettle on the stove. Now, The Strangers could do this, but it doesn't. We observe Kristen acting like an actual sensible human by locking the door instead of going out to investigate those odd noises. Of course, we know it won't end there, and this only furthers the creepy atmosphere. The heroine of the story is no ditz, no fool, and thus, neither the villain or the scriptwriter can be one.

The movie really only becomes more creepy after that, we realize, maybe slightly earlier than Kristen, that there's someone in the house. The someone in this case is three mask-wearing psychos, but they hardly have any screen time at all. However, we are always fully aware they are around, lurking just outside the poor protagonists field of view. The fact that they can still seem like genuine threats without killing anyone for so long in the movie is impressive, to say the least.

The ending is also quite chilling, and thusly impressive, seeing as a denouement easily can rob a movie like this of its intensely scary atmosphere, but no, it's chills ever on.

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