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Cinema Junkie by Beth Accomando

The Strangers
"Why are you doing this to us?" Liv Tyler -- and some people in the audience -- are asking this question of The Strangers (Rogue Pictures)

The Strangers (opening May 30 throughout San Diego) will feel all too familiar to horror fans. Here’s the premise: Take one young couple, place them in a lonely cabin out in the middle of nowhere, and then have some nameless, masked visitors ruthlessly attack. Been there, done that a few rimes. But the film does boast the lovely Liv Tyler and an occasional moment of good filmmaking.

June 12, 2008 at 11:41 PM
I'd just like to point out that the famous line is misquoted. It's not "Because you are a home," It's "Because you were home," which might change your opinion of the ending. In other words, they had no real motive - It was just a random act of violence.

Beth Accomando from San Diego
June 12, 2008 at 11:50 PM
Well you obviously hear better than I do. I went back and listened to the trailer and it still sounds like "because you're a home." But it makes more sense the other way. That's a better line but it doesn't improve the film enough to make it a winner. And either way I think it's bad to use the line in the trailer. Thanks for the comment.

June 14, 2008 at 07:07 PM
Haha, "because you're a home"? The only way I see that making sense is if the woman had an Italian accent. Otherwise, great review. That's a strong point about the ending reveal maybe. I was thinking to myself as I was watching other parts of the movie just how much effective they would be if they hadn't been shown in the trailer. One of the worst trailer crimes I thought was for Rob Zombie's Halloween-- the part where Laurie asks if that was the Boogeyman and the redux shock jolt of MM crashing through the car window ensues. I couldn't help wondering how angry Zombie must've been at that being given away. It'd be tough to market a movie without showing some of it's finer parts, I would imagine. A less showy, more suspenseful trailer probably would've worked well for this movie, I would bet. Either way I agree with the gist of your opinion on the film.

June 14, 2008 at 07:47 PM
Oh, I thought it over for more than a second and could see how your misinterpretation of that line could work. Duh.

Beth Accomando from San Diego
June 16, 2008 at 04:25 PM
I thought they meant "you're a home" as in "you are a family unit." That interpretation would give the film a little irony since they were not a family unit and she was turning down his proposal for marriage. I think that's why I went with that interpretation. As for trailers... they drive me insane. I don't want to know anything going into a horror film. I realize they have to seel it but they have to find a better way than giving away everything in the trailer. Remember the trailer for The Shining? It was the single shot of the lobby filling with blood -- it got your interest, alluded to the horrors to come and it didn't reveal too much. That's the kind of creativity that's needed. Thanks for your comments, and insights.

June 16, 2008 at 11:12 PM
I thought she said, "because you're a whore," which seemed of a piece with her whole casual, almost bored, senseless killer schtick.

Beth Accomando from San Diego
June 16, 2008 at 11:30 PM
That's a good one. Maybe the problem with the film is that this important line is too muddled to hear clearly. Any other interpretations out there for what that line might have been? Or anyone have a suggestion for what it could have been to be more effective? Thanks Sam for the comment.

Steve Taylor from Australia
August 04, 2008 at 04:57 PM
Sorry for the out of date comment but this film is only opening in Australia this week! Thanks for tickling my funnybone with your hilarious "interpretations" of the pivotal line in the movie(as heard in the trailer here too). Especially thanks to Beth for asking for any other wild and wacky suggestions for what the line might have been. Let the fun begin. I tend to like MJM's theory that the villaness is a jolly Italian mamma with a thick accent. Anyhow I'll check the film out this week. Thanks again for the laugh.

Beth Accomando
August 05, 2008 at 04:48 AM
Hey Steve, Thanks for posting from down under. After you see the film maybe you'll have a suggestion of your own. Glad we could tickle your funnybone.

Jorge Jones from San Diego
August 08, 2008 at 06:57 PM
I've been trying to figure out if this flick is an actual remake of the 2006 French movie "Ils", or simply an homage/ripoff. Can you share any insight on the matter, Beth? Otherwise, thanks for being the type of critic who has a sense of humor - so many take themselves too seriously to enjoy some quality Pulp. Keep up the good work! ...Oh, and I'll be looking forward to hearing how your Temecula trip to see Midnight Meat Train went.

Beth Accomando
August 08, 2008 at 08:33 PM
Jorge, Thanks for the comments. I don't think Strangers could really be called a remake of Ils because they can point to enough differences to make a case but I think there are some definite elements that are ripped off. I would also characterize it as something of a rip-off because the director doesn't seem to be paying homage to Ils or knowingly referencing it. But then these kinds of home invasion/siege films are not exactly original (think Straw Dogs, When a Stranger Calls, Black Christmas). Here's a link to an article that has both trailers up: As for Midnight Meat Train... well, after double checking the website and the showtimes, my friend and I arrived at the Temecula theater only to be informed by the ditsy attendant that "oh we just dropped the movie today because we had the chance to open something new." AARGH! 60 miles to be turned away and left unsatisfied! When we asked about why the changes weren't reflected in their online showtimes she just smiled and shrugged her soldiers. My friend and I contemplated charging the projection booth where the print was surely still on hand and coercing the projectionists into playing the film. But we felt we lacked the proper level of intimidation to succeed. So alas I will now have to wait for the DVD. If I had managed to see it I would have most certainly reviewed it. Thanks for your interest.

Yoko from Scotland
August 27, 2008 at 12:57 PM
"Haha, “because you’re a home”? The only way I see that making sense is if the woman had an Italian accent." nice one MJM People at work must think I’m mental, I've been sitting at my desk laughing at this for past 10 minutes now...I can't get the thought out of my head.

Yoko from scotland
August 28, 2008 at 01:51 PM
Oh dear i'm still laughing at this...Now i have visions of the mario brothers standing with scary masks on saying "It's-a me Mario, and the reason we are doing this is because you're a home"

Beth Accomando from San Diego
August 28, 2008 at 06:14 PM
You should submit that idea for the next Scary Movie. Glad I was able to amuse you.

Mary Grace Villen from MMHS
September 25, 2008 at 08:08 PM
I think the review was good even though theres some part that people might not quite understand. Like that quote "Because you are home" or " u were home" at the end.they didnt specifically explained why they said it.It kind of confused people why they had to say seems like theyre just some random people who kills other if they come to the house.or what they call home.

USMC from NY
October 22, 2008 at 07:26 PM
21 of my comments on this flick- enjoy.............. 1. Who the f@ck answers the door at 400am when your in the "boon docks" ALONE with your girlfriend...come knocking on my door at 400am in that scenario and you will hear either 2 sounds- click-clack or click-click-depending on what model I have with me....its 2005 pal- we have all seen that movie! 2. Who leaves there girl ALONE at 430am to go get cigs after some weird chick knocks on your door- what girl would actually stay alone? Not happening EVER. Sorry to farfetched....My wif eowuld be RIGHT behind me or better yet- packing our bags. 3. Knowing some weird shit has happened, you come home to find your girl upstairs in a bedroom with shit all over the place and a knife in her hand--and she cut herself and didn’t realize it bc she was so scared...dotn know about you but that would be it for me- hunny pack your shit-were leaving ASAP and immed get a gun. 4. Ah- the gun scene..What MAN doesn’t know how to use a shotgun in 2005...this is something I would have did b4 I answered the door the first time.... 5. "The Stranger" is hacking thru your freaking door with an AXE- now would be the ideal time to fire your weapon or SHOOT a lot of bullets towards the man wearing the potatoe sack mask hacking your door down- but instead let’s move pianos and throw chairs...LOL 6. Stranger avoids a pointblank 12 gauge shotgun blast of buckshot rounds- impossible- he would have had half of his side blown off- no one moves that fast..take that from a former Marine SF. 7. Yes, let’s leave our girl inside and go looking for the Strangers outside-All by myself- after we have confirmed that this is more than a game of "ring and run" and more like "ring and hack you’re f@cking door down". 8. Rule #2- after u confirm people are trying to kill you- your mission would be to escape and evade the enemy at all costs...which would mean- hunny, you get the keys to the car and I will be right behind you with a shotgun looking for the "strangers" I will drive while u hold shotgun and shoot anything that comes our way-espec people in masks..Not too complicated to do.... 9. We start the car and we see a truck- appear behind us...who is that Scott asks Liv- Oh well let’s see, maybe its old man withers from the smoke shop just coming to check on you, Scott...Obviously the truck belongs to THEM so hit the gas and get the hell out of dodge- you’re in a Volvo- there in a pickup truck- do the math...But NO- let’s STOP and get out of the vehicle and go back INSIDE were we are trapped...there goes all hope! 10. You pull up too your boys house and get your window gets smashed out- noone is around-hmmm- Most people (including me would drive the hell off without even thinking and go get help, asap- or if you’re feeling tough- get out and start towards the house- you see an unfamiliar truck in the DW and the house is broken into- you don’t turn off the music- of course NOR do u let out a yell, a name call or a sound- instead u remain quiet and don’t even check over your shoulder- NOT once...yeah right.... BS 11. back inside now- anyone knows go to a room where there is 1 way in and 1 way out- like the garage- Plan A- stay together- girl gets a knife- guy holds shotgun and waits for strangers to enter garage- guy blows strangers brains out repeatedly until there are no more strangers and we become alot more familiar- re-enter house carefully- with loaded shotgun and get the hell out of there by any means possible-step it out if neccassary- atleast you can shoot at things running toward you. 12. Who runs to a shed to fix a stupid radio- why would you not get the keys from your friends pocket that u just killed and try the car thing again- again back to leaving the girl inside as you go moonlighting to the shed - so un believable. 13. Your boyfriend doesn’t come back for like 30 mins- wait let me back up- you let your BF leave you again- after people are hunting you down- you have NO weapon- AGAIN- for everyone who doesnt know this- EVERYthing in you rhouse is a weapon- RAID or any spray acts a good source of mase, ever see a fork stabbed thru somones neck- not prettty- a broomstick with a couple of simple nails hammedred thru it is a bad ass weapon, hairspray and a lighter is a blow torch, swing 2 frying pans like a baseballs bats and see what happens- your with in 15 feet of your assaliant in the kitchen- start throwing beer bottles from the fridge- unless they are Michael Meyers from Halloween they will surley flintch or get knocked out or injured and charge you- at that point- stab them or run-fast. hide simple things like cutical scissors or a pen in your sock so if ur caught u can come back swinging at last resort..everything in your home and aorund u is a weapon. if your gonna die- go out figthing with everything u got. 14. Girl falls running and crawls- someone is trying to hunt you down and dismantle your body with axes and knives- you would be amazed on what pain your body could deal with- I can assure you there would be NO crawling...not for a girl that is showing the determination Liv has to stay alive. 15. Strangers sitting on the chair outside- OH NO- not that- anything but that!!! a little girl standing in the driveway- please stop scaring me...LOL- go outside and break that bitches nose immediately! 16. Your caught by the "Strangers" and they are going to kill you- by all means don make any possible effort to fight back- 8 out of 10 people would become equivalent to a rabid dog at this point- clawing, punching, kicking, biting, head butting-everything imaginable to NOT be sliced up with a knife in such a cliche movie manner... 17. Who the hell called the cops in the beggining of the movie- the kids_ umm no- that was a female voice... the female stranger to report the murder- dont think so... 18. she was out of cigs- were did the cig come from in the ash tray?? the strangers magically had marlboro lights on them- yeah right- come on.... 19. Is she alive or dead at the end of the movie- what is with the grabbing the arm- the cal said everyone is dead?? 20. The movie is NOT based on a single event that took place on that date/time and year-2005 to a certain couple- Thats the only thing that would have made it remotely scary- it is a culmination of events- so to say.... 21. Strictly- Acting---for Liv and Scott- they did good, espec Liv- there roles were believable and i enjoyed watching them- They were the savoir of this yet another ridiculios failing era of horror movies....

snr from australia
January 01, 2009 at 11:58 AM
to : USMC // October 22, 2008 at 11:26 am: your 21 comments . your are looking at the movie as if it were a situation was a real life event , yes it it based on a true event that event being one of the killing caused by charles manson but even then no one really knows what happened to the people in the real story. so the writers of this film clearly changed & added events to make the movie enthralling. comment 1 : yes its 4am so what ? what are you meant to do just ignore the knock. 2 : when you just got rejected by your love , & prob feeling sad why wouldnt you go out for some cigs. 3 : again its a movie , in real life prob most people would leave but its a movie. 4 : so your saying that every person or atleast one person in a house hold everywhere know how to use a gun ,& your using the fact that it is the 2005 to back that up ?! 5 : if you paid any attention to the movie the scene where the masked killer was trying to break into the house with an axe was beforethey even found the gun. 6: he could have missed . 7- 21 : again its just a movie. & swearing in a comment doesnt nake it any better. : )

Punguin from Phobos
January 01, 2009 at 11:00 PM
Were they dead at the end? A little more explanation would have been good - especially since it was "inspired" by true events. Those attackers sure knew how to disappear and reappear, didn't they? Liv Tyler's a better actress than I thought she was but, really, this did have a lot of cliches, eh? I'm certainly glad I didn't pay to see it. This film is a GREAT argument in favor of gun ownership. I agree the initial appearance of the hooded guy was very effective - quite creepy. I think the absence of loud "here's the villain" music helped a lot. I thought she said, "Because you're at home." Will someone please ban the jittery use of hand-held cameras? Please? I'm sitting here thinking he should have researched the event and not other horror movies.

Punguin from Phobos
January 01, 2009 at 11:05 PM
But - I'm just a "punguin." What do I know? *Squawk!*

Beth Accomando
January 01, 2009 at 11:20 PM
I agree that the initial reveal of the killer was well done and I agree that shaky-cam should be banned... at least until directors learn how to use it effectively and not just continually. Thanks to all for the comments.

January 24, 2009 at 07:21 AM
USMC's 21 comments made me laugh me butt off !!! Best review Ive seen hahahah I'm still chuckling ..... You *can* make a horror film without random acts of stupidity, really you can. No way would most people be separated from one another when some crazed stranger comes up to your Timbuktu-located house looking for Tamara at 4am. Where praytell is that girl supposed to have come from, that's what anyone would be thinking. It's not Manhattan, it's boondocks. I don't care who I was there with I would be riding shotgun if not in the dude's lap the whole way to get those cigs. Fight shmight. Fight would be over at that point. LOLZ.

February 08, 2009 at 04:43 PM
USMC is right 100 % down the line. This thing was all messed up like one of the old Italian "giallo" flicks. Women have no hands, can't pick up a frying pan. Also they can't hide and spring out at someone who's wandering around. Please. This movie is so silly - the beautiful vintage pickup truck, after they ram the volvo, at the end, peacefully driving away. We'll do it better next time, eh? USMC, man, you got it. No cigs, no piano, one hundred things should have gone differently. She says "Someone's in here!" And he replies, "What? What are you talking about honey, who's in here?" I mean, really. Did you notice they only had one prop record, with a red label? And that on an automatic turntable, it didn't shut off automatically? What a bummer movie. It's a tie with "They" or "Ils".

Amanda from Canada
February 21, 2009 at 07:54 PM
I really enjoyed this movie. I thought it was very thrilling, however I thought parts of it were extremely unlikely. Like her not going with her bf after some creepy girl shows up at their door? I also thought it was strange how they didn't question how the light got turned til it wouldnt work when the girl first came to the door. If that was me I would think that was a bit weird. I am also a bit confused about the phone call from the boy at the start. was it just put in there to add effect to the movie? I also HATED how after they both knew that the strangers had a way into the house (I would also like to know how they managed to do that without a sound) that he repeatedly left her in the house alone and unprotected. He basically left her there to be caught. If I were them I would of ran into the woods or anything to just not be in that house trapped. I would of chanced walking til I found someone for help rather then stay in that house. Oh and that lets block the door with a piano scene... like who does that? either way they seemed to have many other ways into the house. I would of been running like hell. I am also curious as to who doesnt notice some 6 foot tall guy looking at you from the next room or following you aruond the house with a white bag over his head? Me personally will notice if someone is looking at me in class or just anywheres because I always get this creepy feeling. I know for sure that if someone was in my house that I would notice pretty quickly. Also how could he be so quiet at the start; and when she was in the closet she could hear him coming. Also if I just shot my friend with a shot gun, I would be upset but the first thing I would be doing would be looking for his cell phone in his pocket, call 911 or at least get his keys and try to escape again. I also wish that you could better hear what the youngest stranger was saying. I had to search it to find out, It was so annoying! I thought that the actors did a really good job in this movie and it was a good movie if you wanted a good scare.

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