THE STRANGERS: CHAPTER 1 – Review by Susan Kamyab

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You might remember the 2008 film, The Strangers based on a horrifying true story of a home invasion. The Strangers: Chapter 1 is based on the series but is the first installment of a new trilogy directed by Renny Harlin.

After a young couple’s car breaks down in an eerie small town, they are forced to spend the night in a remote cabin. What was supposed to be a relaxing evening turns into a nightmare, as they are terrorized by three masked strangers who attack them with no mercy and seemingly no motive. This first chapter is a promising start to the new saga. Harlin creates a disturbing, realistic setting with subtle jump scares that make you uneasy from the moment they enter the secluded home.

The film does have a bumpy start. The acting and dialogue feel very much like a CW drama, but once the couple arrive at the cabin, the story really finds its footing and succeeds in making you never want to take a vacation in the middle of nowhere. However, you will be eager to see what’s to come after this first movie, as it does end with a “to-be-continued”. Another draw to the film is the two leads, Riverdale‘s Madelaine Petsch and local Dallas native, Froy Gutierrez do a solid job as a long-time couple with natural chemistry. It’s the care you have for them that makes you want to see this tragedy through. And I’m sure you’re wondering how this story compares to the 2008 movie. No surprise, there are a lot of similarities, don’t expect anything original, outside of a different romantic dynamic and possibly a different outcome.

The Strangers: Chapter 1 may not leave a lasting impression, but it does provide all the ingredients for a decent scary movie. There’s mounting tension, creative shots, and enough haunting images that make for a thrilling good time. And with all three films planned to take place over only a few days, you can’t help but want to see what’s coming next.

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Susan Kamyab

Susan Kamyab is a Dallas-based television and online film critic, producer, reporter, and writer. Since 2010 she's been reviewing for Irving Television (ICTN) and online at thischixflix.com.