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The Strangers Chapter 1 Review: Why Are You Doing This To Us? I’m Seriously Asking – SlashFilm

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As a slasher flick removed from its source material, “The Strangers: Chapter 1” is perfectly fine. The tone is weird and ominous, the reveal of the Man in the Mask is a quality jump scare, the audio stings and lighting-induced jump scares are perfectly paced, and there will undoubtedly be plenty who spend the runtime stuck to the edge of their seats in panic. Is it formulaic? Yes, but when it comes to slashers, the formula works and has continued to work for a reason. This is a solid date-night outing at the movies, and Madelaine Petsch is acting her ass off even if the material doesn’t understand women. Unfortunately for Froy Gutierrez, she’s acting circles around him, but that’s par for the course with most slashers — the final girl reigns supreme.

But “The Strangers” didn’t need these horror tropes to become a sensation, so it’s very odd to see them shoehorned into this new trilogy. “The Strangers: Prey at Night” incorporated more traditional slasher elements in the sequel, but took so many other wild swings that it felt like its own unique take. This feels like someone took 2008’s “The Strangers” out of the freezer, threw it directly into the microwave, and wants us to think it’s still fresh. And it’s frustrating because Petsch is a fantastic lead, and Harlin knows how to direct the hell out of a horror movie, but it’s one that feels like the antithesis of what made the franchise so compelling in the first place.

Here’s hoping “Chapter 2” and “3” can better present the forest for the trees, because right now this franchise is knocking but nobody’s home.

/Film Rating: 4.5 out of 10

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