The Strangers Not Welcome

Critics praise director, slam film
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted May 30, 2008 1:50 PM CDT
Liv Tyler in 'The Strangers.'   (Rogue Pictures)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – Critics agree that writer-director Bryan Bertino shows promise in his freshman film, home-invasion horror flick The Strangers, but they differ on whether the material was worthy of the talent. Jessica Reaves, writing in the Los Angeles Times, praises a “taut, spare thriller” that’s “enormously unsettling”—she means that as a compliment—with excellent performances from Scott Speedman and Liv Tyler. But Roger Ebert says that “all the craft in the world can’t redeem its story.”

In a one-and-a-half-star review in the Chicago Sun-Times, Ebert notes that “it does what it sets out to do. I'm not sure that it earns the right to do it.” He predicts that "a lot of audience members will walk out really angry at the ending." Meanwhile in the San Francisco Chronicle, Mick LaSalle says Bertino “knows how to frame a shot. He knows how to use sound. He just needs to turn his talents toward something that isn't repulsive.”