Monday, September 20, 2010

ANOKS: The Strangers

A while ago, my good friend and fellow blogger Kelly had the idea that we (the collective we of her, me and Jen – as well as anyone else that would like to join in) should do a scary-movie marathon in October, heretofore known as “A Nightmare On Kel’s Street”, or ANOKS. One scary movie-a-day, culminating naturally (or perhaps supernaturally) on Halloween.

That led to a perhaps obvious problem — how do you choose just 31 scary movies? There were way too many good choices. Therefore, we’re going to start thinking and watching scary films a good six weeks in front of Halloween (and even a few weeks after, I mean, because really, you can’t have too many scary movies, can you?) – which I still say is way better than those damned “pre-Christmas” promos that I’ve begun to see in stores.

You can see the sub-genres chosen and the final movie schedule here.

This is going to require some major Netflix contortions – especially when living in a home where love of scary movies is, let’s just say, not completely universal.

First up: The Strangers

Synopsis: A couple (Liv Tyler and some other guy) go to an out of the way getaway house after going to a friend’s wedding. They begin to get harassed by three people in masks, who continually up the intensity of their presence, ultimately perpetrating Very Bad Things to the nice, good-looking couple.

There’s not much new here from a storytelling perspective – isolated locale, plenty of dead phones, for example – but the sparse less-is-more filming (not many effects, gratuitous gore or escalating body count) keep this movie pretty taut and claustrophobic. And if you don’t like being the only one in an empty house, this movie will probably push some buttons. The couple didn’t do anything to deserve or invoke the attention of these psychos, which I suppose is the point – that random evil can happen to you and really ruin your day. As such, that lack-of-plot is where “The Strangers” falls short for me. So, while it’s creepy and atmospheric, it left me wanting a little more.

6 out of 10.

I hope that many of you will join in for ANOKS when you can and offer up your own thoughts on horror-movies!


Budd said...

That is a massive undertaking you got going there. I have heard that The Strangers is based on a true story.

SteveB said...

Yes -- it's vaguely based on the Manson gang and some urban legends from the filmmakers' youth. I think they use the phrase "inspired" by true events.

It's definitely a lot of flicks and I won't see them all, but it's fun to make the list and then watch a bunch of scary flicks.