Strangers, The

Featured In Issue 137, December 2008

WSR Score2.5
Basic Information on new release titles is posted as soon as titles are announced. Once reviewed, additional data is added to the database.
Universal Studios Home Entertainment
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Violence and terror and language
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Single Side, Single Layer (BD-25)
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Not Indicated
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Bryan Bertino
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DTS HD Lossless 5.1
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Having secretly planned a night of romance, James Hoyt (Speedman) is anxious to get his girlfriend Kristen (Tyler) back to his family's summer house to woo her with candlelight and champagne. At 4:00 a.m. the doorbell at the Hoyt's summer house rings, and a horrifying night with The Strangers who have come to call begins. Now James and Kristen must go beyond what they think they are capable of in hopes of surviving the blood-splattered night. (Stacey Pendry)

Special features include a nine-minute making-of featurette The Elements Of Terror, two deleted scenes, and up-front previews. Additional special features on the Blu-ray™ include an exclusive BD-Live™ function: My Scenes Sharing, which is an appropriately named feature that allows you to compile a clip-book of your favorite scenes from the movie and share them with other BD-Live network users.

The anamorphically enhanced 2.34:1 DVD shows good resolution with solid, deep black levels. The shadows are not defined well, though, with near-black information crushed into darkness. Colors appear to have a natural saturation, but bold, bright hues are rarely used. Fleshtones also appear natural and contrast is balanced nicely. Source artifacts are not a distraction, and compression artifacts are relatively rare. Edge enhancement, as well, is not a distraction. The VC-1-encoded Blu-ray Disc appears relatively soft compared to other high-definition releases, and there are times when moiré is noticeable. Black levels are still deep, but shadows are relatively poorly defined. While the picture is obviously better than the DVD, is isn't as impressive as other high-definition titles are. (Danny Richelieu)

The Dolby® Digital 5.1-channel soundtrack uses each channel effectively, especially during the most suspenseful scenes, but the quiescent nature of many scenes can leave the soundtrack sounding dimensionless and unnatural. Still, subtle atmospheric effects are mixed in well to deliver an adequate sense of liveliness. Fidelity, though, is quite natural, and dialogue is delivered well with good distinction. The LFE channel is incorporated well to create a good sense of suspense when called upon, but it is rarely used. Bass drops down to 30 Hz with force at times, and bass is tight and controlled well. The mix is very engaging, with nicely placed phantom images and seamless pans between loudspeaker pairs frequently audible. Dynamic range is superb and really helps create an enjoyable sense of dimension in the front stage. The noise floor is low and distortions are not a distraction. The Blu-ray Disc's lossless DTS-HD Master Audio™ encoding improves fidelity noticeably, with tighter, more impactful bass and more articulate dialogue. This is a very good soundtrack. (Danny Richelieu)