The Strangers: Chapter 1

Froy Gutierrez and Madelaine Petsch star in a scene from the movie "The Strangers: Chapter 1." (OSV News photo/John Armour for Lionsgate)

NEW YORK (OSV News) — Some games are no fun, like playing cat and mouse with homicidal maniacs. Such is the desperate fate that befalls the main characters in the penny dreadful “The Strangers: Chapter 1” (Lionsgate). Why moviegoers would want to bear witness to their meaningless ordeal, however, remains a mystery.

After their car breaks down, stranding them in a small town in rural Oregon, shacked-up couple Maya (Madelaine Petsch) and Ryan (Froy Gutierrez) rent a remote cabin for the night. There, a trio of masked home invaders proceeds to terrorize them for no discernible reason.

Director Renny Harlin’s relaunch of a franchise that started back in 2008 is an utterly pointless exercise in random cruelty.  His horror flick is only redeemed from being patently offensive by the relatively discreet approach he adopts in depicting the mayhem inherent in its plot.

The film contains grim, briefly brutal violence with some gore, gruesome sights, drug use, cohabitation, scenes of premarital sensuality, about a half-dozen mild oaths, much rough language, occasional crude or crass talk and an obscene gesture. The OSV News classification is L — limited adult audience, films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling. The Motion Picture Association rating is R — restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.


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