The Strangers Blu-ray (Collector’s Edition)
Director: Bryan Bertino
Screenwriter: Bryan Bertino
Cast: Liv Tyler, Scott Speedman, Glenn Howerton, Gemma Ward
Distributor: Scream Factory
R/Unrated | 86/91 Minutes
Release Date: March 6, 2018
2008’s The Strangers, written and directed by Bryan Bertino, was inspired by two real-life events: the Tate murders, a series of killings carried out by members of the Manson Family in 1969; and a string of break-ins that occurred in the Texas filmmaker’s neighborhood as a child. One night, while his parents were out, somebody knocked on the front door of Bertino’s house, and his little sister answered it. The strangers on the doorstep were asking for someone who didn’t live there. Later, Bertino found out that these uninvited guests would knock on doors throughout the area; if no one was home, they would vandalize the property and take what they wanted.
As for the mask-wearing, knife-wielding sickos in The Strangers, the fact that someone’s home doesn’t discourage the intruders; it emboldens them. After a long night at a friend’s wedding reception, James (Scott Speedman, Underworld) and Kristen (Liv Tyler, The Lord of the Rings trilogy) return to James’ childhood summer home in rural South Carolina. Just after 4 a.m., there’s a knock at the door. A young blonde woman (Gemma Ward), whose face is obscured by shadow, asks for Tamara. When James tells her that she has the wrong house, the woman leaves with an unsettling utterance: “See you later.”
Shortly thereafter, James and Kristen’s remote getaway becomes a night of relentless psychological torment and random acts of violence as masked strangers invade their home. Dollface (Ward), Pin-Up Girl (Laura Margolis, Dirty Sexy Money), and a tall man in a suit wearing a sackcloth mask (Kip Weeks) stalk the couple throughout the home, playing a horrific game of cat-and-mouse. James and Kristen will be forced to abandon their humanity and succumb to the same brand of senseless violence if they hope to survive the night.
Bertino’s blunt and brutal home invasion thriller explores a primal fear we all share: What would you do if your home were under attack by people whose only objective was to harm you and the people you loved most? It relies on building a sense of dread through mood and atmosphere, rather than relishing in blood and gore, to scare us. The Strangers relies on silence and shadow more than screams and scares. Perhaps the film’s most unsettling moment comes when Kristen asks her tormentors, “Why are you doing this to us?” In a soft, sweet voice, Dollface calmly replies, “Because you were home.”
In the ten years since the film’s theatrical release, The Strangers holds up relatively well, with a solid performance by Tyler and some genuinely spine-tingling sequences of horror. The characters and situations created by Bertino have left a lasting mark scar on a generation of horror fans, and this fantastic release will ensure that fans discover it for years to come.
Scream Factory’s Collector’s Edition release offers a new 1080p transfer (2.35:1 aspect ratio) with a heart-pounding DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack. With HD masters of both the theatrical and unrated cuts taken from the 2K digital intermediate, this is another definitive release, with solid grain levels, subtle textures, deep blacks, and accurate colors. It’s a massive improvement from the previous release and worth repurchasing, especially if you’re a hardcore fan of this cruel and levity-free film. There’s also a sizable selection of bonus materials, which you can read more about below.
Scream Factory’s The Strangers Collector’s Edition comes with a few newly produced special features. While there isn’t a new or previously recorded audio commentary, there are several new featurettes. These in-depth elements include “Defining Moments,” an interview with Bryan Bertino, “All the Right Moves,” an interview with Kip Weeks, “Brains and Braun,” an interview with Laura Margolis, and “Deep Cuts,” a chat with editor Kevin Greutert. There are also a number of previously released bonus materials, including vintage interviews with the cast and crew, deleted scenes, TV spots, a theatrical trailer, and still gallery.
While the absence of an audio commentary is disappointing, this is still a great 2-disc set. The timing of this release is perfect, too. A new sequel, directed by Johannes Roberts (The Other Side of the Door, 47 Meters Down) and written by Bryan Bertino and Ben Ketai, hits theaters on March 9, 2018. But before you check out the sequel, be sure to pick up your copy of Scream Factory’s The Strangers Collector’s Edition over at Amazon today.
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