“'The Strangers: Chapter 1' Review: Horror Tropes Gone Wrong in Renny Harlin's Latest.” - Latest Global News

“’The Strangers: Chapter 1′ Review: Horror Tropes Gone Wrong in Renny Harlin’s Latest.”

The landscape of horror cinema is littered with sequels, prequels, reboots and remakes – many of which fail to capture the essence of their predecessors. My philosophy is that if a film is going to be rebooted, remade, or given a new purpose, it has to find a way to stand out and justify its existence. Lionsgate The Strangers: Chapter 1, directed by Renny Harlin and written by Alan R. Cohen and Alan Freedland, does neither. This latest installment is a lackluster attempt to revitalize a franchise that should have remained in its original, standalone glory. With wooden performances from Madelaine Petsch and Ryan Bown, this film only serves to remind us of what was once innovative The strangers (2008) has now become commercial and lifeless.

The film begins with a man running frantically through the forest, beaten and injured, pursued by masked figures with knives and axes. His eventual death, while inevitable, is barely shown, so the audience feels no real horror. We then see a couple, Maya (Petsch) and Jeff (Bown), who are on a road trip to Portland to celebrate their five-year anniversary. Lost and hungry, they leave the main street and come across Venus, Oregon – a city that time had forgotten. The local restaurant full of suspicious characters sets the stage for what’s to come. As they leave, their car mysteriously refuses to start. Two men from the restaurant offer to fix the problem, claiming it will take a day, forcing the couple to spend the night in an unknown location.

Jeff suspects a scam, but Maya, wanting to avoid confrontation, accepts her fate and ends up staying in a log cabin listed on Airbnb. In the middle of the forest, the eerie isolation of the cabin immediately catches the eye. The strange knock on the door from a cloaked figure asking for someone who isn’t there sets the tone for the night. When Jeff leaves to get food, Maya is left alone to face escalating terror. The masked figures from the opening scene soon begin tormenting the couple, and the primary question is whether these two will survive the night.

The Strangers: Chapter 1 Is everything wrong with the horror genre? The film lacks structure, a lack of atmospheric tension and an over-reliance on cheap jump scares. The characters make a series of poor decisions, a hallmark of lazy writing, that advances the plot without regard for logic or audience engagement. Cohen and Freedland’s script brings nothing new to the table, and the worst thing is that the film is tiresomely monotonous, with no real tension in the first 30 to 45 minutes.

Maya and Jeff are described as painfully clueless and unprepared individuals, lacking any sense of self-preservation. They are archetypal horror characters who make nonsensical decisions just to advance the plot. This lack of character development results in a narrative devoid of creativity or originality. While sublime horror isn’t a necessity, a modicum of ingenuity is. Horror tropes can be effective and entertaining when used correctly, but The Strangers: Chapter 1 fails spectacularly in this regard.

Harlin’s direction and cinematography rely heavily on close-ups of the actors – a technique seemingly used to disguise impending horrors. But this method backfires as the audience quickly learns to anticipate every predictable jump scare. The murders lack any sense of horror or intrigue, leaving viewers to wait a long time for a climax that ultimately fails. At least Madelaine Petsch is fun to watch. She chews up every scene like it’s in an episode of Riverdale. This is the result of a script that has very little to work with.

To capture the attention of a new generation of moviegoers, especially with a theatrical release where tickets cost over $17 in some cities, a reboot needs to offer something compelling. The Strangers: Chapter 1 is a film that shouldn’t exist because the original already had what it took to be entertaining and memorable. This chapter marks the start of a series that won’t go far, but it will remind you that not all stories need to be retold, rebooted, or reimagined.

Title: The Strangers: Chapter 1
Distributor: Lionsgate
Release date: May 17, 2024
director: Renny Harlin
Screenwriter: Alan R. Cohen and Alan Freedland
Pour: Madelaine Petsch and Ryan Bown
Evaluation: R
Duration: 1 hour 31 minutes

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