The Strangers (2008)

Rated R. Our ratings: V- 2; L-1; S/N -4. Running time: 1 hour 30 min.

My soul also is struck with terror,
while you, O Lord—how long?
Psalm 6:3

Kristen and James face scary intruders.

2008 Universal Pictures

Kristen (Liv Tyler ) and husband James (Scott Speedman) are too secular to think of praying to God, but they certainly experience the Psalmist’s terror when they are assaulted by the strangers of the film’s title. Almost estranged form each other because of some unnamed cause, they plan to stay the night at their parents empty house. There is a loud bang on the door, and a masked young woman asks “Is Tamara home?” She then disappears, but not for long—and she is not alone.

There were times when the couple do the usual stupid things that characters do in horror movies (and you want to cry our, “No, don’t split up!” and “No, don’t go there!” ), but over all the suspense is so great and the stakes so high that this will be one of the most unsettling films to be seen thus far this summer. Writer/director Bryan Bertino keeps the blood and gore to a minimum, allowing our imaginations to do most of the work—and he leaves things open for a sequel. This is one of those films that challenges the usual, cozy notion That “all’s right with the world,” not to mention the possibility that if “God is in his heaven,” he must be pretty blind, or uncaring, to the evil deeds of his creatures.