Say hello to "The Strangers," a spare, creepily atmospheric psychological thriller with a death grip on the psychological aspect.
First-time director Bryan Bertino -- his script was a quarterfinalist for the prestigious Nicholl Fellowship grant -- has taken a cue from the fright films of the '70s, but unlike others evoking the era, the influences are more character-rooted than derivatively stylized.
Although horror generally has taken a bit of a beating at the boxoffice lately, fans should be able to discern "Strangers" as the real deal, providing Rogue Pictures with a little lucrative "death in the country" counterprogramming to "Sex and the City."
Ostensibly inspired by actual events concerning senseless acts of violence (not that it really matters), the film is set in the secluded South Carolina family vacation home where James (Scott Speedman) was intending to celebrate his engagement to Kristen (Liv Tyler).
But it's apparent from the tension between the couple as they pull up to the house in pitch darkness that things didn't go as planned on the proposal front.
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