THE STRANGERS: CHAPTER 1 – “In a word: unnecessary”

Madelaine Petsch as Maya in The Strangers - Chapter 1. Photo Credit: John Armour

RATING

DIRECTOR

Directed by: Renny Harlin

MAIN CAST

Madelaine Petsch as Maya
Froy Gutierrez as Ryan
Rachel Shenton
• Gabriel Basso
• Ema Horvath
• Ella Bruccoleri

SYNOPSIS

Maya drives across the country with her long-time boyfriend, Ryan, as the pair begin a new life together in the Pacific Northwest. Along the way, their car breaks down in Venus, Oregon and they are forced to spend the night in an isolated Airbnb home. Through the night, they are terrorized by three murderous masked strangers.

REVIEW SUMMARY

Renny Harlin’s reboot slash remake slash prequel of 2008’s The Strangers is, in a word: unnecessary. That’s mainly because the movie is very redundant when compared to the Liv Tyler-starring original. To say it adds little new would be a major understatement. To be fair, it is effective in providing the requisite creep factor (home invasion is inherently terrifying after all) and there are moments of genuine suspense (there’s a really tense crawlspace sequence). However, it never reaches the level of terror of the first film. Making matters even more maddening is the literal “to be continued” that comes up on the screen at the end. Yes, there are two more “chapters” already filmed and ready to go. Which kinda begs the question – why not make this a TV miniseries? Why make moviegoers spend their hard-earned money to only get a portion of a story? It’s an interesting strategy, that’s for sure. One aspect of the film that does deserve props though, is the performance of Riverdale’s Madelaine Petsch. It turns out the young actress is a natural scream queen and adds a real light to the picture with her presence. Let’s just say you’ll care whether she “makes it out alive.” The bigger question though, is whether audiences make it out excited to see the second chapter? I’ll take a (ahem) stab and say no.

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