Tuesday, September 29, 2015

THE STRANGER (2014)

THE STRANGER (2014)

Label: Scream Factory I IFC Midnight 
Release Date: October 6th, 2015 
Region Code: A
Rating: Unrated
Duration: 92 Minutes
Audio: Englsih DTS-HD MA 5.1, English DTS-HD MA 2.0  with Optional English Subtitles
Video: 1080p HD Widescreen (2.40:1) 
Director: Guillermo Amo
Cast: Aaron Burns, Alessandra Guerzoni, Ariel Levy, Cristóbal Tapia Montt, Lorenza Izzo, Luis Gnecco, Nicolás Durán


A mysterious stranger named Martin (Cristóbal Tapia-Montt), arrives in a small Canadian town in search of his estranged wife Ana (Lorenza Izzo). The couple suffer from a very rare blood disease which makes them crave human blood, through a series of flashback we are shown that for years the couple fed off the blood of animals, only one of them strayed from the path and turned again to the blood of humans, a murderous act which drives a wedge between them and in the aftermath they are driven from the home. 

It seems that Martin has been tracking his wife Ana for some time at the top of the movie, leading him to the small Canadian village in hope of murdering her and killing himself to stop the spread of their cursed blood disease. While the disease is never named it is clearly understand it is some form of vampirism. Martin discovers that Ana passed away some year earlier, and with that knowledge he prepares himself for suicide, but before he can do it Martin is attacked by three small town thugs, lead by Caleb (Ariel Levy), the murderous son of the corrupt Lieutenant De Luca (Luis Gnecco), a Salton officer with a chip on his shoulder. 

Martin is left for dead by the thugs, which is just fine by him, but he is rescued by a young man named Peter (Nicolás Durán) who saves his life despite being warned not to under threat of death. The incident begins a chain-reaction of drained bodies in the small town as revenge is sought against Caleb, played with loads of seething venom by Levy, which spurs his father to take matters into his own hands, creating a small body count of his own. Cristóbal Tapia-Montt turns in a smoldering performance, down played but very intense, everyone seems to leave the scenery chewing for actor Luis Gnecco as the corrupt cop, he takes it a bit too far too often, not sure if it's the weakest performance or just the loudest, but it's probably both. 

The tone of this one is very dark and brooding, the characters are low key - except for Gnecco - and there's a lot of satisfying bloody violence, this has some great brutal moments. The movie seems to struggle against what is is, a low-key vampire film, attempting to switch up the lore a bit with its own mythologies, adding a curative element to the blood of the cursed, a cure that can turn into an epidemic if certain religious ceremonies are not performed, I liked the lore of i, you see why Martin was on a murder/suicide trip, it makes sense given what the disease could unleash. 

Audio/Video: The Stranger arrives on Blu-ray from Scream Factory and IFC Midnight in the widescreen scope aspect ratio, looking solid with nice depth and clarity, black levels are strong which is appreciated as the events mostly unfold during the dark hours. Viewers have the option of an English DTS-HD MA 5.1 Surround or English DTS-HD MA 2.0  Stereo with Optional English Subtitles, the surround offers plenty of discreet use of the surrounds, dialogue is crisp and the score from Manuel Riveiro sound good. 

Special features include the short film 'The Fourth Horseman'  which is an abbreviated version of the longer feature, plus a 'Welcome to Chilewood' featurette starring the cast and crew of the film discussing their wish to make Chile and movie making empire. The only other extras a a couple of trailers for the movie and a few posters, behind-the-scenes and production images. There's also a reversible sleeve of artwork which really only differs in the fonts and cropping of the image, plus a slipcase. 

Special Features
- Short Film, The Fourth Horseman (11 Mins) HD
- Welcome To Chilewood Featurette With The Filmmakers (6 Mins) HD
- Theatrical Trailer (U.S.) (2 Mins) HD
- Theatrical Trailer (Chile) (2 Mins) HD
- Still Gallery (3 Mins) 


The Stranger (2014) is definitely not a feel good movie, there's no snark or irony, this is a straight-up dark and brooding horror film, one that does something a little bit different, and I can appreciate that even if I didn't love it, I enjoyed it. In terms of tone I was reminded of Let The Right One (2008) and Near Dark (1987), it take a bit to get up to speed but if you stay with it this is pretty good watch, not great, but damn decent and worth a rental. 3/5 

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