“The Strangers” invades the places we feel safest

Katy Lutz

For movie buffs, the month of October means one thing: 31 days of horror movies. With tons of horror flicks to choose from, The Daily Texan is going to be providing a daily horror recommendation. Whether you prefer ghosts, zombies, or stark explorations of the human condition, we’ll be featuring horror films of all flavors. Check back every evening for the movie of the day. Today, we’ve got the home invasion thriller “The Strangers.”

It takes a lot to scare me. I’ve seen the likes of Freddy, Chucky and Jigsaw, and after each movie I sleep like a baby. Actually I sleep better than a baby, but that’s beside the point.  When it comes to horror movies, blood and guts don’t bother me. In fact, the more gore the better. So what does it take for a horror movie to serve up the scares? A plausible plot is the first requirement. 

One of my favorite horror movies is “The Strangers.” Unlike most scary movies, “The Strangers” does not have a ton of blood, guts and gore — staples in the horror genre. So what makes it so terrifying? 

“The Strangers” is a realistic account of what happens when a couple is terrorized by three assailants disguised in Halloween masks. With no means of escape, the couple is forced to endure endless taunting and terror. Add the secluded, out-of-service, remote country side and you have a classic set up for a bone-chilling story. Oh, and did I mention the script is based off of true events that unfolded in director Bryan Bertino’s childhood neighborhood?

As if that wasn’t enough to make you uneasy, take into account that the masked intruders justify their torment by saying the couple was targeted simply because they were home. If masked invaders terrorized individuals just because they were being couch potatoes at home, I would be long gone!

That gets to the heart of why “The Strangers” is so terrifying. Home invasion films break into the places we feel safest, leaving us scared to sleep in our own rooms. 

Adding to the movie’s chill-factor is a haunting score that leaves you anticipating (or is it dreading?) every scare. It is safe to say that after watching “The Strangers” you will never listen to “My First Lover” by Gillian Welch the same way again.

If you are looking for a movie that packs in the scares and is not too far-fetched, watch “The Strangers.” It will keep you up at night constantly checking that all of your doors are locked. 

When it comes to picking out a Halloween costume inspired by “The Strangers,” go simple and pick out the scariest or most disturbing mask that you can find. To really bring in the scares, choose a mask that’s creepily simple, like a doll or a Michael Myers blank face. If you want to try and replicate one of the masks seen in the movie, cut two holes through a burlap sack, paint a smile on the bag and voila, you have an easy, scary and cheap Halloween costume.