Monday, September 1, 2008

Movie Review: The Strangers and Vault Of Horror

The Strangers 2/10 & Vault Of Horror 4/10A

Now... I find it always very therapeutic to totally trash a film that wasted 90 minutes of my life.

I'm not that tough to please really, I usually find something to enjoy in any movie I watch, but this just serves to underline quite how bad The Strangers really is.

I don't care about spoilers here, since I am going to say this right now -DO NOT GO AND SEE THIS FILM. In no circumstances watch this film. Don't go watch it for a laugh, don't think I'm overstating the facts. It is a film without anything to recommend it.

Let me explain the plot. A couple (played by Liv Tyler and some faceless hunky drone type) are in a house. They get terrorised by three masked creepy folks who scare them up something good. Then the three masked assailants tie them to chairs and stab them repeatedly, presumably killing them.

If that sounds like fun, I suggest you phone Samaritans right now because you have a serious problem.

And I know... it sounds a bit like the tongue in cheek torture porn of Hostel or Saw, and you may think its worth your while as a result (I wouldn't by the way, the Torture Porn movies are a waste of bad actors).

It's not worth your while. It's the most awful, lame waste of film stock I have seen for a long time.

Not bloody enough to satisfy gorehounds and lacking any heart or satirical content to satisfy fans of the 70s exploitation films that it clearly references.

Actually, its worse than referencing, it's like the writer/director had an I SPY book for downbeat horror films and worked his way through every cliché available in it. Check these out:
  • The three assailants are capable of moving at supersonic speeds in absolute silence despite the fact they are human (that's kind of the point of the movie)
  • The two people being assailed are incapable of making any rational decisions
  • The creeps chop through the front door with an axe (here's johnny!)
  • A guy turns up innocently trying to find out what is happening only to be killed (the shining again)
  • There are more cynically timed and sound tracked sudden jolt moments than I can count
  • They do the face-appearing-from-the-dark thing five times or something (Halloween)
  • They have the old "based on true events" crap at the beginning, when the visible things to base it on is nothing more than two people were horribly killed in their summer house.
There are probably more of them but it is making me tearful to think about it.

These things being said, the main problem I had with this film is that it suffers from the absolute WORST affliction any film can possibly have - it is just plain boring. You don't care about any character or event, and the fact that it fails here means that essentially you are just watching three people pulling the legs off ants for fun. I hope they had some fun doing it, cos I didn't watching them.


As a public service I will insist that the best thing that can happen is that every print of this film spontaneously combusts before anyone else can see it. Do not give these people any of your money. I will personally laugh at you if you ignore me.

From the awful to the ridiculous, today's movie watch was Vault Of Horror, 0ne of the horror "portmanteau" subgenre where several stories are linked by a framing device - in this case a bunch of guys in a lift end up trapped in a weird room and respond, logically enough, by telling each other their nightmares.

My personal favourite of this subgenre is a film called Asylum, with Herbert Lom and Robert Powell etc. Worth seeing if it's ever on. Certainly better than either of these films.

The stories in Vault Of Horror are so silly and low budget it's almost cruel to mock them, particularly since despite its microbudget and appalling orange blood effects it wasn't boring like The Strangers. They included a lousy accidental encounter with vampires (with cardboard fangs?), a neat freak (terry thomas, playing terry thomas) being arranged neatly into jars by his long suffering wife, a man whose plan to bury himself alive backfires (don't.. just don't...), a magician (the bad guy from spy who loved me) who kills a rope charming young lady to steal the magic rope, which promptly strangles him (the clearly visible wire notwithstanding) and finally a crazy artist (played by the crazy bearded Tom Baker) who gains the power to make voodoo paintings (as opposed to dolls) but makes the fatal mistake of painting a self portrait. Idiot.

Seriously, it was rubbish, but it was still better than The Strangers. Please heed my warning. This film is a biohazard. Steer well clear.



  1. There's a phone booth on the way to sainsbury's that always has an advert for a really dire looking film on it - Licenced to Wed, The Accidental Husband ('one groom...? TWO grooms...? Oh, my medication...') Wedding Daze... lots of shit films about Weddings.

    Anyhoo, that has an advert for the Strangers on it now, which is proof if proof were needed that this film is going to be shat.

  2. Going to be SHat doesn't even begin to cover it. I hope you had a laugh with the review anyway - you would have had considerably more fun reading it (whatever your opinion of my writing style) than I did watching the movie.