KSL Movie Show review: “The Strangers” is basically the same as the other movies

May 17, 2024, 1:00 PM

KSL movie show host steve salles next to The Strangers movie poster...

Editor’s note: This is an editorial piece. An editorial, like a news article, is based on fact but also shares opinions. The opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and are not associated with our newsroom.

SALT LAKE CITY — There’s nothing quite so terrifying as the thought of masked strangers breaking into your house and doing unspeakable things to your family, simply because you are home. It’s every parent’s nightmare and Hollywood is well aware.

So much so, that this is the fourth effort under “The Strangers” banner and that’s if you don’t include the “Funny Games” movies that started clear back in 1997, again in 2007, plus a chilling French version simply called “Them.”

Finnish Director Renny Harlin, who had a string of hits in the 90s (Die Hard 2, Cliffhanger and the Long Kiss Goodnight) has become the latest to attempt to breathe new life into an age-old storyline, but with the gutsy addition of two new chapters.

Well, there had better be something original coming, because Chapter 1 is a not-so-subtle reshoot of ALL the previous “Strangers” movies.  However, since a new generation of horror fans may not know the “deets” of those earlier films, here’s a refresher course.

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Ryan and Maya are on a road trip to Oregon for a potential job opportunity for architect Maya. They decide to pull off into a small town for a bite to eat, apparently, something that doesn’t happen very often, by the way the townies are glaring at them at Carol’s Diner.  
After an uncomfortable meal, they get back in their car, but it won’t start. The nearby garage can fix it in the morning, but in the meantime, the couple will have to stay at the only rental available, which just happens to be an old cabin outside of town. Oh, shoot!
As they cozy in for an evening by the fire, a rather emphatic knock at the door rattles their sweet bliss.
“Is Tamara here?” Asks the young female voice standing in the shadows.  
“Sorry, you must have the wrong house,” the couple replies.

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I will admit, Harlin does offer some decent suspense, but eventually, this cat-and-mouse game between Ryan (Froy Gutierrez), Maya (Madelaine Petsch), and the three Strangers, Scarecrow, Dollface and Pin-up Girl grows wearisome and I’m thinking, “Can we just get to it already?”
(Yes, I know that’s an awful thing to admit)
I say that mainly because everything is basically the same as in the other movies.  
Even the two creepy Mormon kids handing out pamphlets (I call them the Deacons of the Corn) are brought back in this redo. 
So, Mr. Harlin, you’d better have some new tricks up your sleeve for Chapters II and III. Otherwise, real fans of the better “Strangers” movies are going to be more than a little upset with your uninspired horror rehash.

“THE STRANGERS: CHAPTER 1” (C-) Rated R for horror violence, language and brief drug use. Starring Madelaine Petsch, Froy Gutierrez, Ryan Bown, Mats Lajcak and Olivia Kreutzova. Directed by Renny Harlin (“The Long Kiss Goodnight” “Die Hard 2”) – filmed in Slovakia. Running time: 91 minutes.

The KSL Movie Show with Andy Farnsworth and Steve Salles airs Fridays on KSL NewsRadio from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Follow the show on Facebook, and join The KSL Movie Show Club for exclusive perks by texting MOVIE to 57500.


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KSL Movie Show review: “The Strangers” is basically the same as the other movies