We need more directors willing to take risks with films like Get Out.
My mistake was to read the interview with the director. At the beginning of my review of "The Strangers," I typed my star rating instinctively: "One star." I was outraged. I wrote: "What a waste of a perfectly good first act! And what a maddening, nihilistic, infuriating ending!" I was just getting warmed up.
And then, I dunno, I looked up the movie on IMDb and there was a link to an interview with Bryan Bertino, the film's writer and director, and I went there, read it and looked at his photo. He looked to be in his 20s. This was his first film. Bertino had been working as a grip on a peanuts-budget movie when he pitched this screenplay to Rogue Pictures and then was asked to direct it. He gave a friend his grip tools and thought: "Cool, I'm never going to need this anymore! I'm never using a hammer again." Then he told the interviewer: "I still had to buy books on how to direct."
So I thought, Bryan Bertino is a kid, this is his first movie, and as much as I hate it, it's a competent movie that shows he has the chops to be a director. So I gave it 1.5 stars instead of one.
Still harsh, yes. I think a lot of audience members will walk out really angry at the ending, although it has a certain truthfulness and doesn't cheat on the situation that has been building up. The movie deserves more stars for its bottom-line craft, but all the craft in the world can't redeem its story.