Review: THE STRANGERS – Chapter 1

The newest movie by Renny Harlin, The Strangers: Chapter 1, is now available on streaming. I was hoping for something fun with some of that Harlin magic. I did not get any of that.

The Strangers: Chapter 1 is the dumbest of the dumb slasher and home invasion movies I’ve ever seen, and that includes some of the 80s slasher movies that had zero budget and actors that are as wooden as Kirsten Stewart.

The movie stars Madelaine Petsch and Froy Guiterrez, there’s no point listing the other actors. It’s directed by Harlin and written by Alan R. Cohen, Alan Freedland, and Bryan Bertino. I think it’s connected with The Stranger (2008). According to the IMDb, this isn’t a prequel to the 2008 movie. Instead, it is a new trilogy ‘inspired’ by the original, written by Bertino. The story of The Strangers: Chapter 1 is:

After their car breaks down in an eerie small town, a young couple is forced to spend the night in a remote cabin. Panic ensues as they are terrorized by three masked strangers who strike with no mercy and seemingly no motive.

The tagline of the movie is “They don’t need a reason”. I mention that as it will feature later in this review.

The Story

There will be spoilers, which I will tag, but really I’m saving you the hassle of watching this movie. A couple are on the move to a new city. They stop for dinner off the beaten track. Their car breaks down and they spend the night in a local hunting cabin. People in masks turn up and ‘terrorize’ them.

The first 20 minutes set up the couple and some of the locals. The rest of the movie is about watching the World’s Thickest Chick from a Horror Movie Ever. She was thicker than my wife’s gravy.

He goes back into town on a bike that is at the cabin to get some food. She then starts to get ‘terrorized’ by three masked people. This is where the stupidity starts. She’s out in the middle of nowhere and there is some form of threat. OK, you shouldn’t waste the police’s time, but she has a mobile phone and a signal.

I’ve seen enough horror movies to know that if you’re in a cabin, by yourself, in the middle of nowhere and there are strangers outside then CALL THE POLICE! You know how people in horror movies have never seen horror movies? This chick seems like the kind of girl who would try to hug a bear in the woods.

The boyfriend gets back with some food and everything is fine. They eat dinner, only to find a dead pheasant hanging up in the kitchen and dripping blood on their dinner. Something they entirely fail to notice while entering the kitchen.

The masked strangers then get into the house and then attack them, but then just up and leave. Why? To make the plot happen. The couple tries to get to the bike, but that blows up as they get near to it. I’m guessing the strangers have some kind of a pyro-technic remote control?

The couple get to a shed where they find a loaded shotgun. This is the end of the movie, right? Nope, the guy couldn’t hit water if he was stood on a boat. Again, the level of stupidity is way beyond anything I have seen before and I’ve seen some of Disney’s Star Wars.

Don’t shoot or the movie will end!

The Ending *spoilers*

The movie opens with a random murder. Then it has title cards, saying:

According to the FBI, there are an estimated 1.4 million violent crimes in America each year. That’s one committed every 26.3 seconds. This story is one of the most brutal.

You know what I’m like with extreme cinema, I kind of perked up here. The ‘brutal’ acts of violence are at the end of the movie. The couple ends up tied to chairs, one of the strangers stabs the guy in the gut and then kicks his chair over and he bleeds out and dies.


That’s it! That’s one of the most brutal acts of violence in this movie. Well, I was shocked, I nearly fainted, like a Victorian gentleman seeing a lady’s ankle.

The girl gets stabbed and then the strangers leave. It made A Serbian Film look like Mary Poppins. OK, so in the very last scene, the girl is in the hospital and it seems her ordeal is not over, but this wasn’t scary, gross, brutal, or… anything.

According to my research, The Strangers: Chapter 2 is about:

Maya, a survivor of a violent attack, faces a relentless pursuit by masked killers. As she fights for survival, she unravels the terrifying mystery behind their relentless pursuit in the second installment of this trilogy.

Just to call back on this, the tagline of the first movie was “They don’t need a reason”. It turns out they do need a reason and it’s all explained in Chapter 2.

What Happen to Harlin?

I like Renny Harlin, the guy makes an entertaining movie. His catalogue includes Cliffhanger (1993), Die Hard 2, A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master, The Long Kiss Goodnight, Deep Blue Sea, and Driven. All of which are fun movies to enjoy.

I have no idea what makes him want to make The Strangers? A pay cheque, I’m guessing. This has none of the fun qualities that make his movies entertaining. I have seen some slasher/home invasion movies in my time, but nothing as dumb as this.

The cabin they are in is a hunting lodge during the hunting season. Do the strangers attack any hunters that stay there? I’m guessing no as each one of them wouldn’t stand a chance. Does the stranger only terrorize the occasional guest at the lodge?

The main woman, although cute, is dumber than your average dumb ass in a horror movie. I still can’t get over how she has a phone and never uses it! It would have been more useful if she threw it at them.

I’m guessing this will all be in Chapter 2, but I’ll be damned if I watch it. I could not care less if the girl is terrorized again. Well, if they actually kill her, then it will be worth it since we don’t want her sort reproducing and dragging down the gene pool, aka, Idiocracy.

Pretty, but dumb

In Conclusion

The Strangers: Chapter 1 is possibly the dumbest slasher/home invasion movie I have ever seen. The couple deserved to die because of their own stupidity. The movie might make a good drinking game movie, take a swig when someone does something stupid. If you end up with liver damage, don’t blame me.

I suppose I could make the case it is worth watching just so you can see how bad it is, but honestly, if you decide to then that is on you.

Stars 0.5

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