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

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. 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." —MB

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