The Strangers (2008)
Written and directed by Bryan Bertino

The first time I saw The Strangers I found it damn scary, but by the end, a bit numbing and cold-hearted. But unlike the vast majority of horror flicks from the last decade or so, it stuck with me. It left that sort of lingering sense of unease that the great horror movies do. Movies like The Exorcist, for example.

Now, I won't go as far as saying The Strangers is necessarily the caliber of horror movie that will still have people shitting their pants 30 years from now – although I won't say it won't, either – what I will say is that it belongs on a very short list of recent movies (Wolf Creek and High Tension among them) that might have that kind of staying power.

It's your basic couple-terrorized-out-in-the-middle-of-nowhere story, but executed brilliantly, with a pervasive sense of nervous claustrophobia that builds to a series of increasingly terrifying scare scenes. Liv Tyler is terrific and deeply believable in a role that could otherwise have just been a lot of screaming.

While it does occasionally veer toward that torture-type BS that makes movies like the Saw or Hostel franchises merely unpleasant, I never got the feeling the film was going for shock value just for the sake of it.

Your own mileage may vary, but to me, The Strangers is as genuinely horrifying as any recent film I can name. Oh, except for The Happening, but that was horrifying for totally different reasons.

Review by Harsh Babilus