Reel Society

Reviews for the latest movies in theaters and on DVD.

The Strangers


Review by Matt Starr

The Strangers begins with a statement on the screen that is also told to us through a voiceover as if we couldn’t read the words ourselves. It goes….

"The film you are about to see is inspired by true events. According to the F.B.I. there are an estimated 1.4 million violent crimes in America each year. On the night of February 11, 2005 Kristen McKay and James Hoyt went to a friend's wedding reception and returned to the Hoyt family's summer home. The brutal events that took place there are still not entirely known."

If this statement is true, then this movie is that much sadder. It’s not only sad because two young adults lost their lives in brutal fashion but also due to the manner in which they defended themselves. They were complete imbeciles. If they had simply watched Scream and listened to Jamie Kennedy’s three rules they probably would have survived. On that note I have decided that rather than reviewing this uninspiring film I will expand Jamie’s list and inform you of what not to do if you ever find yourself in a horror movie situation.

Whatever occurs, you must never split up with whomever you are with. The colloquialisms of “there is strength in numbers” and “divide and conquer” are age-old strategies that are still pertinent today. The killers want you and the other victims to split up. Nothing could possibly make their job any easier.

Once you have sensed a potential threat, begin to prepare yourself for action. For starters, put on some clothes and shoes, especially shoes. You don’t want to be running away from your attackers with no shoes on.

Once the threat is real (rather than potential), don’t call your loved one, friend or family member. CALL 9-1-1. Seriously, I can’t stress this enough. Why do people call their friends in these movies? 911 is in operation twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. If there is any one decision that is most likely to save your life, it is this one.

Never leave your cell phone unattended. We are lucky that here in 2008 if we ever find ourselves in a threatening situation we have our cell phones handy to call for immediate assistance. The adolescents and young adults of the 70’s and 80’s didn’t have this luxury when they were fighting off the likes of Michael Myers and Jason. It’s one thing if your attacker removes your phone prior to you being aware of the situation but there is no excuse for taking your eye off your cell once you know someone is hunting you.

Do not put your back against the wall. If you know your attacker is now in the vicinity do not put yourself in a location where there is only one option for escape. Examples of this include trapping yourself in a closet or under a bed. Jamie Lee made this mistake in Halloween and barely lived to tell the tale. If the attacker is blocking Exit A make sure you have access to Exit B.

If you have planted yourself in a position and you are guarding that position with a shotgun do not leave under any circumstances. People hate when their opponents camp in first person shooter games. The reason is that the attacker knows they are now at a disadvantage. The attacker has to come find you. All you have to do is simply sit and wait for them to come and then shoot them. It is now a game of patience and if you wish to survive you will be more patient then them.

If you find yourself behind the wheel of a working vehicle do not get out unless you absolutely have to. Another vehicle bumping you from behind is not a good enough reason to get out. You are better off in a high-speed chase with your attackers than laying around, outnumbered in the middle of nowhere.

Be quiet.

Finally if you are going to stay up until four in the morning at least lock all of your doors and windows.

Thus endeth the lesson.  And, oh yeah, don’t go see The Strangers, whose characters hereby flunk this course.

1 ½ / 5 stars

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