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The 100 Best Movies Of The Complex Decade

77. The Strangers (2008)

Director: Bryan Bertino
Stars: Liv Tyler, Scott Speedman, Gemma Ward, Kip Weeks, Lanasia Greenlee, Glenn Howerton

Memorial Day Weekend 2008 was supposed to be owned by those horny cougars in Sex And The City; that was, before Bryan Bertino, the first-time writer-director behind The Strangers, tamed Sarah Jessica Parker and her randy cohorts at the box office. Genuinely creepy and intelligently made, The Strangers blindsided Hollywood, capitalizing on a superb trailer and turning a huge profit on the strength of positive word-of-mouth exposure.

And, yes, we too let our appreciation be known. Hell, we still are—other than Insidious, no mainstream horror flick has come close to matching The Strangers in legitimate scariness since that fateful Memorial Day Weekend.

Harking back to spooky genre classics such as 1963's The Haunting, Bertino skipped gruesomeness for atmospheric chills, mounting tension through off-camera sounds, skipping vinyl records, and out-of-focus shots of the film's masked intruders prowling behind stars Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman.

The Strangers also has the best reasoning from a villain about his or her choice of home-to-invade out of all this subgenre's entries; when Tyler asks one of the anonymous baddies why she and her hubby are under attack, her emotionless assailant simply says, “Because you were home.” Translation: “You're just shit out of luck, girl.”

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