Horror/suspense movies are mostly built on twists and in this day and age it's really hard to get a new twist that can still surprise a viewer. The Strangers pulls off a twist which is really interesting however a movie can not just rely on twist alone as it actually needs a compelling story first.
Evelyn (Cherry Pie Picache) and Roy (Johnny Revilla) take their twins Max (Enrique Gil) and Patricia (Julia Montes) on an out-of-town trip to celebrate their 18th birthday. Tagging along with them is Evelyn's father (Jaime Fabregas) and his aid Paloma (Janice De Belen). But on their way to the place, their van broke down and they got lost in the middle of the forest where they met a group of villagers hunting down Dolfo (Enchong Dee) whom they believe is an aswang.
The movie starts pretty slow as it takes too much time telling the characters' issues with one another. Nothing really significant or exciting happens for the first hour or so but for what is worth, when they finally got to the “twist” it will make you look back at the early scenes and conversations. I must say that the foundation of the twist is structured well. Unless you're a super sharp person or have seen this premise before in another movie (I haven't) the twist is not something that you could easily guess.
Unfortunately, before you get to the cool twist part the movie lingers on a storyline that drags for too long and felt like it was going nowhere at all. I felt a sense of disconnect from what's happening on screen mainly because The Strangers failed to construct characters and build situations that the viewer could actually have an emotional investment on. It felt like it was just filling out time before they reveal the deceit.
The effects are solid but it's pretty generic and they rely too much on the musical score to inform the viewer that this is an intense scene already. The cast is populated with veteran actors who made the most out of their stock characters while the young leads took sometime to get into the groove of their characters but in the end they still did a fine job. One thing I was impressed with the technical side of the film is the make up because it's really well-done and didn't look fake at all.
The Strangers is sadly a missed opportunity. If they only had a stronger story leading to the revelation of the twist then the impact of the deceit would have delivered a bigger blow. As it stands, the twist only redeemed the movie from being a total dud. 6 / 10