4 November 2012
Mise-en-Scene: The Strangers
The Strangers (Bertino) is a 2008 horror/thriller film, directed by Bryan Bertino, and starring Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman. Based on true events, The Strangers, tells of a young couple, Kristen McKay (Liv Tyler) and James Hoyt (Scott Speedman), who stay in the Hoyts’ rural summer home after attending a wedding. Throughout the night, three people in masks (Kip Weeks, Gemma Ward, and Laura Margolis), one man and two women, terrorize this couple, playing cruel tricks on them, and then attacking them later. This film is a film that really stands out in most of today’s horror movies. While many psychological horror/thriller movies today focus on gore and having a high body count, this film focuses on the elements of terror, which actually scare viewers, instead of grossing them out. The mise-en-scene in this film is excellent, whether it be the setting and actors, or even lighting/color and costumes/props.
To start with, is it easier to get help living in a suburban neighborhood or in a rural house in the woods? Obviously the answer would be in a suburban neighborhood, where you have neighbors right nearby. But this film takes place in a rural house in the woods, where Kristen McKay and James Hoyt stay. The Strangers opens up with a scene from the perspective of the three masked invaders as they drive in a truck. Their faces are not shown, but it is shown that they are looking for homes to target from the side window. At the beginning of the scene, the houses are suburban and close to each other, but as the scene progresses, the houses get further and further apart, becoming more rural. Finally, the masked invaders decide to target the Hoyt house, because it is in the woods, and there is nobody else around. Nobody else to hear the victims’ screams or cries for help. The victims, James and Kristen, have to virtually fight for themselves, as the only ones around are them and the...