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  • Writer's pictureStephen Yanni

The Strangers: Chapter 1 (2024) - A Chilling Reboot

Updated: May 20

Rating: ★★½ ☆☆(2.5/5 Stars)

Released 05-17-2024

Watched 05-17-2024

Reviewed 05-20-2024

Watched in the theater Using Cinemark Movie Club

"Why are you doing this to us?"

"The Strangers: Chapter 1" is a 2024 horror film directed by Renny Harlin, marking the third installment in The Strangers film series and the first in a standalone trilogy reboot. The movie follows Maya (Madelaine Petsch) and her boyfriend Ryan (Froy Gutierrez) as they embark on a road trip to celebrate their five-year anniversary. Their journey takes a sinister turn when their car breaks down in the remote town of Venus, Oregon, forcing them to spend the night in an isolated Airbnb. As night falls, the couple becomes the target of three masked psychopaths.

The film's premise is a familiar one: a couple stranded in a desolate location, hunted by masked killers. While the setup promises a tense and terrifying experience, "The Strangers: Chapter 1" struggles to deliver a fresh take on the well-worn formula. The storyline lacks originality and depth, making it difficult for the film to stand out in the crowded horror genre.

Madelaine Petsch and Froy Gutierrez give commendable performances, with Petsch's portrayal of Maya adding some emotional weight to the otherwise predictable plot. However, the character development feels shallow, and the script does little to make the audience invest in the couple's plight.

One of the film's major shortcomings is its reliance on jump scares and clichéd horror tropes. While there are moments of genuine suspense, they are few and far between. The masked strangers, who once evoked a sense of primal fear, now feel like rehashed villains without any new layers or motivations. The low body count and lack of inventive kills further diminish the film's impact.

Visually, the movie benefits from its atmospheric setting, with the isolated Airbnb and the surrounding wilderness providing a suitably eerie backdrop. Harlin's direction is competent, but the pacing is uneven, and the tension often fizzles out before it can fully take hold. The cinematography by the director of photography helps create a foreboding atmosphere, though it cannot compensate for the film's narrative weaknesses.

Overall, "The Strangers: Chapter 1" is a mediocre entry in the horror genre. While it may appeal to fans of the original films, it fails to offer anything new or exciting. The film's biggest flaw is its inability to build on its predecessors, making it feel like a retread rather than a reinvention. With Chapter 2 and Chapter 3 on the horizon, there's hope that the series can find its footing and deliver a more compelling story. For now, this installment is best saved for a streaming watch rather than a trip to the theater.


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