The Strangers is typical of modern "horror" fare. It makes out early on that it's going to try something different, markets itself as a new level in horror and is shot in that artsy way that is meant to make boring stuff more interesting.
In fact it's nothing more than a by-the-numbers slasher with no tension, no scares and no surprises. The script would fit neatly into a single text message, being so devoid of meaning or depth. The two main victims are a couple on the brink of breaking up - Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman. This is the only interesting note in the whole film as it begins with them returning from someone else's wedding in a less then celebratory mood. He has clearly proposed to Her and she has obviously said no and now here they are at his Father's remote-ish summer house where he had foolishly planned for some romance. Rather than hint enigmatically at this fact as the film promises to, we are instead treated to a totally superfluous flashback "revealing" what we had already figured out. Typical.
As usual, the couple in peril make the same dumb decisions people always make in these movies. "You wait here, I'm going outside" and "I'll be right back" are so weary, so carelessly bandied about, that it's hard to give a shit anymore. The Strangers are presumably meant to be scary but instead it's just silly since they have an almost supernatural ability to be totally silent and able to appear behind you in a shadow before melting away into nothingness when you turn around. Yet the whole point of the film in the latter stages is that these are just some random people driving a Ford pickup who fancy the idea of killing some folk. If they are just normal people, why are they so good at it? Why are they able to silently and instantly co-ordinate their attacks? And why can't the hero - armed with a frigging shotgun by the way - just find a good vantage point and wait for dawn?
No, instead they have to jump through the usual horror hoops just to build the "suspense" if you can call it that. They have mobile phones, but they are instantly rendered useless by a mysterious lack of signal or flat battery. Liv Tyler even plugs hers into the wall to recharge, but then decides she can't use it to make a call until it's finished. Try the landline, ahhhh yes of course, they've cut it. And what next? Oh there goes the power. To quote Die Hard - "They've got the terrorist playbook and they're running it, step by step".
What next? How about a "there's an old CB radio out in the shed, wait here I will run across this open ground in total darkness to get to it while you stand on the porch screaming at me"? Would that help to scare you? No? Well, you're shit out of luck then. Unless you find their rather silly masks inherently scary, there are no chills to be found here.
The ending is pure pap, the beginning is boring and the middle is utterly uninspired. Avoid this crappy film.
Note : I'm also appalled to discover that Bryan Bertino is enough of a shitheel to try the old "the film you are about to watch is based on real events, the details of which are still unclear". Well, it turns out it's based on fuck all. Slow handclap begins.