I liked The Strangers, because even though I knew what to generally expect from it, it was well-made enough that it still scared me.
The story begins when James Hoyt (Scott Speedsman) and Kristen McKay (Liv Tyler) arrive at James's parents' cabin in the woods in the early hours of the morning. They are uncomfortable with each other, because although they love each other, James has just proposed to Kristen, who said no, claiming that it was too soon. Shortly after they arrive, a knock comes at the door, which instantly puts the couple on edge, since it is just past four in the morning. Upon answering the door, they find a young girl (whose face is hidden in darkness due to a light being out) who asks for Tamera. The couple tell her that she has the wrong house, and she responds "see you later" and leaves. James leaves for a little while to get some things, and this is when things get frightening. Strange noises and occurences start to fill the house when Kristen isn't looking, and three mysterious masked figures begins to scare Kristen, initially from oustide the house, and soon from all over the place. James's return does nothing to stop these events, and the strnagers' terrifying games becomes increasingly bold and dangerous.
A lot of the fear in the film is caused by the idea that much of what the strangers do to scare the couple is done right under their noses simply when they are not paying attention. It is easy for the viewer to imagine the same thing happening to them, because after all, how much of our time do we spend focusing so much on specific things and ignoring what's going on around us?
The acting was good in the film, although it must be said that much of Liv Tyler's role involves screaming and being scared, and that toward the end of the film it becomes somewhat annoying that she really doesn't seem to grasp what's happening to her. Speedsman on the other hand takes most of what is happening to him with great restraint, which made him easier for me to sympathize with. Others may disagreee.
The one thing that truly annoyed me with the film was the choices that the protagonists make, which at time seem either totally illogical or just downright ignorant. For example, for a while they gett James's dad's gun and hold out in a closet, which offers them the opportunity to stake out until the invaders come in to get them and just pick them off easily enough. However, another shock comes for the characters, and they inexplicably leave their spot and once more go on the move. It seemed like a bad move.
Nonetheless, this movie definitely scared me, and was generally well-made. The look of the film was expecially just dark enough without being hard to see. Also, direcctor Bryan Bertino wisely kept the strangers as silent boogeymen rather than brutal aggressors for most of the film, which just added to the tnesion. I recommend you see it. Just be wary of its failings.