Tick Tock: Our Review of ‘The Strangers: Chapter 1’

Posted in Theatrical by - May 17, 2024
Tick Tock: Our Review of ‘The Strangers: Chapter 1’

Madeleine Petsch and Froy Gutierrez star as an adventurous yet doomed couple in Renny Harlin’s The Strangers: Chapter 1. Playing Maya and Ryan respectively, their friend group is in Greece, but they decide to go on a road trip through America. Their latest stop in their three day trip is Venus, Oregon, where their car conveniently breaks down, needing repairs. The scary but nice townies (including Gabriel Basso) help them out though. They tell the couple to book an AirBnB where they think they’re going to get some alone time. Knocks on a door turn into an actual home invasion. By then, they’re probably regretting not going to Greece with their friends. But then again these two probably can’t afford Greece either, so they’re in Venus, hiding from these intruders.

Is there a point to this film though, because it seems like all they’re doing is delaying its inevitable conclusion. A film about a couple hiding from their intruders needs to have a certain aesthetic standard, which this passes. I use other pieces to rag on the bad cinematography in Hollywood films so at least this one’s nighttime lighting looks decent. Nothing remarkable yet nothing bad visually but I wish I can say the same about the couple’s decision making. The Strangers: Chapter 1 has viewers playing armchair critics about the actions of people that go through home invasions.

Despite the opening intertitles in The Strangers: Chapter 1, invasion are something that most people won’t have to endure. And yet, this is part of the job as a critic and viewer. We notice things like, for example, why are they splitting up several times here? There are times when they have to, as one of them has to save the other. But if I was either of them I am not leaving the other person. In some aspects, the film does its best but it’s strange to see it rip off the nail scene in A Quiet Place. There are some good aspects of that scene, where Ryan’s body language is caring despite the circumstances.

Ryan hugs Maya to comfort her and he doesn’t put his hand on her mouth or rip the nail out of her hand. I don’t know what it says about me that the first thing I’d do is rip the nail out of her hand, which reminds me of another thing. There are some moments here where the couple acts too quickly and others when they don’t. But most of the time, it’s the latter than the former, which, fair, maybe the brain acts slower during crisis moments. But still, it’s not a good sign that viewers are thinking smarter than a film. There are, lastly, some moments that feel so boring that if I was either Maya or Ryan, I’d get it over with.

Watch The Strangers: Chapter 1 in a theatre near you.

This post was written by
While Paolo Kagaoan is not taking long walks in shrubbed areas, he occasionally watches movies and write about them. His credentials are as follows: he has a double major in English and Art History. This means that, for example, he will gush at the art direction in the Amityville house and will want to live there, which is a terrible idea because that house has ghosts. Follow him @paolokagaoan on Instagram but not while you're working.
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