Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The Strangers Review

Liv Tyler is all like "I don't know any of these people."

So this isn't going to be a super long review, cuz the movie isn't super long. Plus, there's not really that much to say about it. The first half hour is real scary. Like, everyone-in-the-theater-screams-then-laughs-fuck-everything scary. But then when the action heats up, the movie isn't as scary anymore. Maybe because what we imagine in our heads is always scarier than what we see on screen? I think every person has their own specifics about what is super scary to them. I mean, there are obviously things in common. Everyone is scared of octopi. (Wait, you aren't? You should be. They are hyper intelligent, have 8 tentacles, and no remorse. And they can fit through a hole the size of their eyeball. Imagine what that looks like. And I am pretty sure they can communicate telepathically. I think I saw that on the Discovery Channel. I think they have a shared hive mind kind of thing going on as well. Oh, and falling. People are scared of falling too.)

Ok, so when a movie doesn't show you the really scary stuff, your brain fills it in with your own personal little phobias. But then if they show you the badness in plain daylight, your brain doesn't have room to add anything. That's the main problem with this movie. Its just three normal people in goofy masks. They are wearing bracelets and watches, and then i imagine them shopping for bracelets at JC Penney and trying to get a good deal on them, maybe checking the discount aisle to see if any of last year's models are cheaper. And nothing is less scary than bargain hunting. Plus, I get what the director is trying to do with the goofy masks. Isn't it terrifying, the dichotomy between how cute they look and the horrible things they do? But that doesn't change the fact that you still look like you're wearing a looney tunes mask. There's a reason there hasn't been a scary movie where the killer wears a porky pig mask. Wait, that's kind of a good idea. He stutters "That's all folks" right after he slashes a bunch of coeds. The tagline could be "This time, the pig's doing the slaughtering." Or "This time, that duck pushed him too far." Or "He'll bring home the bacon. Your flesh = the bacon!" Or "This time, the pig will make YOU squeal." etc.

Wow this digression got really out of hand. I could delete it, but the deleter is all the way over there. (Gestures to the top right corner of the keyboard, tries to reach for it, but gets tired and drops hand onto the keyboas'ohidhaiuwhfdiheih0p-i32.)

Anyway, the point is that it's hard to have a really scary movie with the badness in plain sight. Jaws is one of the scariest movies ever, and you hardly ever see the shark. In Alien, you don't get a good look at the actual alien until the very end. What's the scariest part in this movie? The knocking. "Who's there?" Silence. Then. Knock. Knock. "Jeezus who the fuck could it be?!?" Nothing. and Everything. Anything could be behind that door. Knock fucking knock. Hold me I don't think I can take this anymore. If the knocker had replied "I am a woman, mid twenties, blonde hair, wearing a goofy cartoon bunny mask or something, and I got a really good deal on this silver bracelet", it would kill the tension. Which is kind of what this movie does after the first half hour. Too bad. But most movies can't achieve tension at all, so this movie gets kudos for that. It's slight, but kinda scary and fun. The audience at the movie, though, gets a much worse review. Especially that kid yelling "boo!" to try and scare us. Teens are the worst audience members for scary movies. They feel lame for getting scared and try to up the bravado. When the octopi finally do rise up against us, teens will likely be their first target. I know. They told me so.


Chris said...

like the review, but was this movie sort of like an untwisted, adolescent version of "Funny Games" or not?

Kumail Ali said...

Yup yup. Three "strangers" show up to a house and terrorize its occupants. Except this one doesn't have so much of a point to make. So, yes, adolescent and untwisted.

dm said...

I'm sorry, but I believe you meant octopodi.

Carrie said...

That masked murderer has a pretty adorable outfit on. It's hard for me to believe you would be ok with getting blood on that feminine a top.