The Strangers: Chapter 1

The Strangers: Chapter 1
The Strangers: Chapter 1
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In a genre crowded with spirits, undead, extraterrestrials and other frightful creatures, some fans believe the scariest horror movies are those that feature the most fearsome monsters of all: people. Although it never claimed to be a true-story-based thriller, as its marketing campaign suggested, 2008’s The Strangers is one of the genre’s more down-to-earth and believable films for its chilling portrayal of a lethal home invasion. It would spawn a sequel a decade later in The Strangers: Prey at Night, but judging by this title alone, it seems like the masked assailants’ reign is far from over with The Strangers: Chapter 1.

So where does the carnage take place this time around? Who are the killers’ next innocent victims? And — being that this is the third chapter in this vicious horror series — what does “Chapter 1” mean for it? We’ll unravel all of those details and more in our guide to one of summer’s most anticipated upcoming horror movies below. Meet The Strangers: Chapter 1.

Blood will hit screens on Friday, May 17 when The Strangers: Chapter 1 is scheduled to release in theaters. This summer should be an exciting one for fans of scary movies with several highly anticipated thrillers on the upcoming 2024 movies schedule set to come out during that season — such as A Quiet Place: Day One (which shows us how the A Quiet Place movies timeline began), Longlegs starring Nicolas Cage, Fede Álvarez’s Alien: Romulus, Blumhouse’s English-language Speak No Evil update and more. How will this home-invasion thriller stack up against these other freaky films? We shall soon find out.

According to the first official trailer for the thriller — which is set to a chilling remix of Cage the Elephant’s “Trouble” — it appears that The Strangers: Chapter 1 shares a few similarities with the original. The teaser includes moments that will feel familiar to some Strangers fans — especially in the dialogue — but also features some cool scares that may have future fans excited for more. See for yourself by checking it out below:

Lionsgate has also released exclusive footage from the film — including a chilling two-and-a-half minute clip that, like the official trailer, pays homage to the original. It shows our female protagonist at a woodland residence making an unnerving encounter with an unseen, unwanted visitor before revealing to us that at least one of her enemies is already inside.

The plot of The Strangers: Chapter 1 follows two young lovers who are engaged and on a road trip across the country when their car suddenly breaks down in Venus, Oregon. They are then forced to take shelter at a woodland Airbnb, but it turns out not to be the safe haven they had hoped. Instead they spend the night fighting for their lives against three masked assailants with deadly intentions.

The new movie seems to retell the story of The Strangers with Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman. In this version, they play a couple who leave a wedding and spend the night at his family’s cabin in the woods. He said those words right before he turned around slowly toward me, gripping my hand harder than necessary. “And I wanted to make them feel how it feels to lose everything.” There was nothing left but silence after that statement hung heavy in the air like smoke from an extinguished fire; we both knew what had happened next without having said anything more about our parents or that woman who asked us if mom and dad were home while I watched her walk away through tears until she disappeared around corner then he told me later on when came back there must’ve been twenty people outside looking into houses trying find one where somebody could kill themselves.

In classic slasher fashion, most subsequent installments brought fresh faces into the fold as victims for Michael Myers or Jason Voorhees to terrorize, so it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that The Strangers: Chapter 1 is set to boast a whole new ensemble cast for its eponymous masked trio to target this time around. We don’t have confirmation of any character names just yet, but let’s dive into what we do know about their roles thus far and where else you might recognize these stars from.

Madelaine Petsch is playing Maya (according to EW), the lead protagonist of The Strangers: Chapter 1, as seen in the exclusive clip above. The former Riverdale star has become something of a Scream Queen in her own right since making her feature debut four years ago with 2014’s The Hive, also appearing in Polaroid (2019), Sightless (2020) and podcast drama series The Shadow Diaries (2020). 

Playing Maya’s fiancé Ryan is Froy Gutierrez, who’s no stranger to the horror genre with recurring roles on MTV’s Teen Wolf, Hulu’s Light as a Feather and 2020 coming-of-age thriller Initiation among his credits, as well as being part of the Hocus Pocus 2 cast over at Disney+. He’s also appeared on Netflix’s One Day at a Time, The Goldbergs and Freeform series Cruel Summer.

Gabriel Basso, Petsch’s co-star from The Hive, has an undisclosed role in the movie. Best known for playing one of the kids in J.J. Abrams’ Super 8 ensemble before headlining Netflix drama Hillbilly Elegy opposite Amy Adams and Glenn Close, his horror work tends to lean more toward kid-friendly TV shows like Ghost Town and R.L. Stine’s The Haunting Hour.

Also in an undisclosed role is Ema Horvath, who has made something of a name for herself in the genre recently with movies like fun horror anthology series The Mortuary Collection. She also featured in Amazon Prime’ Lord of the Rings prequel cast.

British actress Rachel Shenton is another one with an unknown role to her name here after starring in vampire web series Blood and Bone China prior to lengthy spells on British soaps Hollyoaks and Switched at Birth. She also wrote Oscar-winning short film The Silent Child.

The latest chapter in this particularly vicious franchise comes rated R – unsurprisingly. For “horror violence,” language and brief drug use are what earned The Strangers: Chapter 1 its classification from the MPA

Bryan Bertino was not part of The Strangers: Chapter 1, though he served as a co-writer and executive producer for The Strangers: Prey At Night. This time around, it’s Renny Harlin — a name most viewers probably associate with the action genre since he directed Die Hard 2, Cliffhanger, Cutthroat Island, and The Long Kiss Goodnight — who’s at the helm. But that doesn’t mean the Finnish filmmaker lacks well-known horror movies in his résumé; among others, he made the fourth Nightmare on Elm Street picture (The Dream Master), shark movie favorite Deep Blue Sea, and one of the Exorcist prequels (2005’s The Beginning).

However, this film is both Alan R. Cohen and Alan Freedland’s first foray into horror writing. The duo has typically focused on comedy during their careers as TV scribes (King of the Hill) and producers (Due Date). There are also a few franchise veterans working on The Strangers: Chapter 1 — producers Roy Lee (who produced the original in 2008) and Charlie Dombek (who worked on Prey at Night).

The title of this new film — along with a trailer caption promising that we’ll “witness how the strangers became The Strangers” — might lead you to think it’s a prequel to the original; it is not. According to MovieWeb , The Strangers: Chapter 1 is actually just “the beginning of new trilogy,” and two other chapters have already been written. They’re expected to be released sometime in 2024 because once they got into editing on chapter one, which had an original cut running four-and-a-half hours long.

These aren’t meant to be reboots or remakes but rather a new trilogy inspired by Bertino’s original idea for three separate movies around this concept,” Harlin explained to EW. “Part two will be very much about what happens when the world finds out who these people are. Part three will explore what happens to the victims of this kind of violence and who the perpetrators are of this kind of violence. Where are they coming from and why?”

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