strangers

After a 4 a.m. knock at the door and a haunting voice, Kristen McKay (Liv Tyler, The Leftovers) and James Hoyt (Scott Speedman, Underworld) find that their remote getaway becomes a night of psychological terror as three masked strangers invade. Faced with inscrutable tormentors, Kristen and James must go beyond what they think they’re able to endure if they have any hope to survive.

strangersbluStudio: Shout! Factory
Year: 2018
Release Date: March 6, 2018
Run time: 177 minutes
Rating: R

Audio: DTS HD MA lossless 5.1 mix
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Disc Spec: 2 BD
Region: A

‘The Strangers’ is old fashioned horror at its best. There’s no ghosts, monsters, people being held up in a room an having to saw off their legs to get out or anyone going to Russia or wherever and being taken to a slaughter house, just good old fashioned suspense at its best. What makes this movie great is that this kind of stuff actually happens instead of the over done and unbelievable examples given above. I realize that the movie is based on true events although we all know that doesn’t necessarily mean a lot these days.

To say that the horror genre these days is in a dire situation is a bit of an understatement. From dreadful remakes and cliched endings, its very, very rare to find a good horror movie these days. Even 10 years later, ‘The Stranger’ is still just as captivating when we first saw it release in 2008. We are treated to a very good scary movie that rises above the genres bad reputation and delivers the thrills and chills. The Strangers is one of those movies.

The premise of the film is extremly simple. A young couple find themselves being terrorized by three masked strangers one night and both must fight for survival in order to make it out alive. That’s all I’m going to give away, so as to not spoil the movie experience. There are a few reasons on why the film works. First, as stated before, the premise is simple, with no back story, huge sets, glossy effects, over the top gore effects, none of that. Instead what the film employs are simple sets, dark atmosphere, creepy music, and killers that are not given a background but just there to terrorize.

The director Bryan Bertino uses all these elements to create nerve jolting scenes that keep your heart pumping, eyes glued to the screen, and jumping with fright. From a simple act of rusty chains, creaking doors, shifting shadows, crackle of leaves, you already get this feeling of unease, as if you are not sure what is going to happen or what may come next. Every corner you see, every window you look out, it gives you this sense-of-dread feeling that gives The Strangers its power.

Movie Quality: 9.5/10

Print/Audio Quality

The print is presented in 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 with a 2.40:1 aspect ratio. I have owned ‘The Strangers’ on many occassions via DVD, Digital HD, and now on Blu-ray for a second time. The previous Universal release was on a BD25 which meant that the bitrate was lower. With this new release from Shout, we get two discs on BD50 giving both cuts of the film room to breath. ‘The Strangers’ was shot on a lower budget, but you would be hard pressed to notice. One area of a bigger improvement over the previous release is the black levels. They now appear more prevalent here, and not as crushed on the previous release by Uni. This is a rather dark film that is shot at night, so black levels are a huge deal that they are intact. I also found details and clarity to be much better with this release. Just looking at the facial aspects of our main characters, there was much greater detail. There is some film grain that is still a part of the print, so I am glad that this wasn’t fully cleaned up since at times it will ruin films that had this as intended.
Print Quality: 9.5/10

The audio is presented in a DTS-HD MA l0ssless 5.1 mix. This sounds like it is the same exact mix from the previous Blu-ray release. The DTS-HD really shines during the action sequences and shows how far audio can be taken with the right mix. At times it felt as if I was being chased by the intruders from the mix as my rears were getting a good workout. The dialogue is very clear and crisp; the great part is that it is well balanced with the soundfield mix.
Print Quality: 9/10

Special Features

DISC TWO: THEATRICAL VERSION

  • “R” Rated Theatrical Cut [HD]
  • “The Element of Terror” featurette [HD] New
  • “Strangers at the Door” featurette [HD]
  • Deleted Scenes [HD]
  • TV Spots [HD] New
  • Theatrical Trailer [HD] New

DISC TWO: UNRATED VERSION

  • Unrated Cut [HD]
  • Defining Moments: Writing and Directing The Strangers [HD] New
  • All the Right Moves: Kip Weeks on Playing the Man in the Mask [HD] New
  • Brains and Brawn: Laura Margolis on Playing Pin-Up Girl [HD] New
  • Deep Cuts: Kevin Greutert on Editing The Strangers [HD] New
  • Still Gallery [HD] New

Special Features: 9/10

Final Thoughts

I feel that ‘The Strangers’ is a unique film even 10 years later. A classic thriller that has been destined to be a favorite on Blu-ray and DVD after all these year. This movie will have you on the edge of your seat from beginning to end. If you own the previous Universal release, this is a big enough upgrade to spend the extra money.
Overall Rating: 9/10