Home invasion is one of the most horrifying sub-genres of horror, mostly due to the fact that it tends to be the least silly. In fact, it was a home invasion film, Funny Games, that was so horrifying and disturbing that I was unable to finish watching it (which for me is rare). However, while they are also some of the most horrifying, the are almost among the least common - especially these days. The Strangers, written and directed by Bryan Bertino is one such film. And while it is a nice change from the gore-filled “torture porn” of the last few years, and the awful remakes of perfectly good 70s horror films, it ultimately is a let-down falling just short of greatness.
While the film is creepy, ultimately it fails in that it’s just not quite scary enough. There were some genuinely creepy moments, and for those who scare easily I’m sure this would be no walk in the park… But I personally only jumped a total of 3 times… and one was merely from a loud sound cue. While this is just a problem on my part, and that I’ve simply been so desensitised it takes so much more to really get me.
It’s a real shame too, because the film does try really hard. It is clearly made by someone who understands true horror film. It’s not a gore fest - all violence occurs off screen. It’s not silly - home invasion films rarely are, and the closest things to being silly are the masks and even they are quite unnerving. In every respect the film had all the potential to be a truely horrifying experience… and yet it wasn’t. While the ending is quite good, it feels like we are forced to wait 70 minutes to get to it.
Overall, the film isn’t terrible, however it’s not fantastic either. Having said that, it is nice to see a horror film that tries to do something different, that is to say return to horrors roots, and isn’t merely a gore fest. I look forward to further work from Mr. Bertino. He clearly knows his stuff, and understand the key elements of not only a good horror film, but a great horror film. This is a strong first attempt, and again comes so close. It’s good… but it’s not great. Having said this, do see it. If you scare easily it’ll have you jumping. If you’re like me, you will at least appreciate the attempt. And, at 88 minutes you can’t really go wrong.
Who knows? Maybe it’s just me.
“You scored a total of 33
You appear to experiencing some type of attention and concentration problems which are often common amongst the general population, but border on the possibility of being more severe. It is unclear as to whether you suffer these problems severely enough to need to seek further diagnosis and treatment of them. You should not take your responses to this self-report questionnaire as a diagnosis or recommendation for treatment of any sort. Consult with a trained mental health professional if you are experiencing difficulties in your daily functioning that you are worried about.”
I’m just this awesome! Suck on that! Wait is that a bad… hey look a feather!
Albatros, albatros, albatros. Shit what were we talking about elderberries.
I know this is immature, but I watch all these “Preserve Marriage” ads and I can hardly control my impulse to draw shit-moustaches on all these horribly misguided young people.
The entire campaign is based on, “Listen, we’re cool with your ‘Will and Grace’ lifestyle, but you’re not welcome to the same basic rights as the rest of us.” If that’s not intolerance, “Geoff”, I don’t know what is.
Can we settle this once and for all? Your freedom to practice your religion is protected under the Constitution. Your hiding behind your religion to discriminate against groups of people is not. SO KNOCK THAT SHIT OFF.
What would Jesus do, “Geoff”? First, he’d draw a shit-moustache on you, then he’d comb out your butt-cut. Then he’d forgive you and we’d all have a big gay party.
NO ON “GEOFF”. NO ON 8.
This year, make a film. Doesn’t have to be elaborate. Doesn’t have to be profesional. Hell, doesn’t have to be good. Just make a film. Write it, shoot it, edit it, delete the raw footage (so you won’t be tempted to tinker for 3 years).
If this is not done by the end of 2009 than perhaps you’re not serious about your craft…
So Do It. Create.