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A Hooked On Horror Review: The Strangers: Chapter 1

So Lionsgate made a big decision to reboot the Strangers and kickstart a new trilogy, and I'll be honest I wasn't overly struck on the idea originally. I mean the original is a classic, one film that really does terrify me to my core. There's no ghosts, monsters, ghouls or goblins...just someone who decided one day they wanted to kill someone and todays the day I'm going to act on it. Oh and sorry, but you're my victim because you were in the wrong place at the wrong time. That is haunting.

And this modern-day re-telling is easily as harrowing as Bryan Bertino's 2008 film.

The Strangers: Chapter 1 poster
After their car breaks down in an eerie small town, a young couple is forced to spend the night in a remote cabin. Panic ensues as they are terrorised by three masked strangers who strike with no mercy and seemingly no motive.

In short, this is essentially a more polished, stylistic version of the original. Whilst it didn’t change much or add anything new to the story, it’s a great horror that will keep you on the edge of your seat when things really get started. In regards to the story, if you’ve seen the original, you’ll know how it goes to be honest. You do get the impression the townspeople are in on the whole situation, which could be an interesting turn of events if that comes true in the sequels. I have my suspicions already about who the killers are, but we’ll see. There’s a lot of questions, and a lot of directions they could go. I’m invested for the sequel already.


Some cool action scenes and a few that really gave me chills. There were a few jump scares littered throughout but luckily they weren’t overdone. Few scenes that made me wince and one in particular that was somewhat difficult to watch. Remember that scene in Home Alone 2 where Marv steps on the nail? Ye like that, but even worse…so much worse! Harlin doesn’t shy away from the sheer brutality of the ending either, if anything I’d say this felt more personal and brutal than previous.

Froy Gutierrez and Madelaine Petsch in The Strangers: Chapter 1

Really well shot, great sense of dread throughout. Cast were decent, Froy Gutierrez and Madelaine Petsch had great chemistry on screen. Killers were all fantastic, like watching a cat toy with a mouse before finally putting it out of it’s misery. Costumes and masks have been given an upgrade as well; they look great. The Scarecrow takes charge again seemingly even bigger than how he appeared in previous films- I like it, echoes Kane Hodder’s performance as Jason Voorhees.


I did find parts annoying (so many horror cliches) and there’s one scene even I had my head in my hands, rolling my eyes, muttering ‘aw for fucks sake’ under my breath. Characters could’ve been fleshed out more, but there was enough to keep me invested enough that I gave a shit if they lived or died.

"Because you were home"

Much like the original, it’s a decent slasher flick that plays on that fear of the unknown. The statements about a crime being committed so often at the start of the film was a great touch that only added to that fear. The thought of someone doing something like this for the sheer hell of it is truly terrifying.


Maybe it’s the fact I own my own home now or the modern-day setting, but this one screwed with my head a lot more than its predecessors. Really stuck with me after I left the cinema, and not in a good way. This is a great way to start a trilogy, and one hell of a reminder as to why we lock our doors. Roll on Chapter 2!

The Strangers: Chapter 1 is in cinemas now.


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