A couple of weeks ago, I pulled up to New York Comic Con! While the convention typically focuses on comic book characters, anime, and the like, there was plenty of action for horror fans there as well. In particular, there was a panel that focused on the new The Strangers trilogy, and it gave so much insight into what’s to come with this reimagining. Director, Renny Harlin (A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master, Die Hard 2, The Exorcist: The Beginning, Deep Blue Sea, LL Cool J’s: Deepest Bluest), and producer, Courtney Solomon (Captivity, Nightmare Cinema), were there to give us the inside scoop. We were also treated to exclusive clips from the upcoming film The Strangers: Chapter 1 (2024). Here’s what we know about the upcoming trilogy.
The creators have expanded the story. The original film, The Strangers (2008), follows a simple story that works perfectly as a one-off story. If you haven’t watched it yet, I highly recommend the original if you enjoy tense home invasion movies. Spoiler alert for a 15-year-old movie — we never find out the identity of the strangers. Also, the only reason the audience is ever given for the violence endured onscreen is “Because you were home”.
During the panel, producer, Courtney Solomon, alluded to rebooting the story in a way that allows them to tell a bigger story. The new project will consist of three movies that happen in sequence. This differs from the existing The Strangers films, as those have a ten-year gap between events. Harlin and Solomon have hopes that the new movies will be released within a couple of months of each other.
We’re also told that the new films will be character-driven. I believe that this was reassurance for the crowd because strong characters are key in home invasion movies. This sub-genre tends to lean into tension instead of piling on the body count. There’s often plenty of cat-and-mouse like chases, plus scenes where characters must rely on stealth to survive. The creators could have easily chosen to make a fast-paced slasher. Instead, they intend to maintain the terror and tension of the original film.
We will also learn more about the strangers in these new films. One of the biggest questions the first film left unanswered was “Who are the strangers?”. According to Solomon, light will be shed on these characters. We were not given specifics on exactly how much we would learn, but the strangers were described as very distinct characters in the reimagining. So much so, that they could easily tell when stunt actors were behind the masks. Learning more about “the strangers” creates a divide amongst fans. This is because many want to know more about the characters, while others believe this lack of knowledge is what makes the original movie terrifying.
During the panel, we also learned that the masks have been redesigned. They are still similar to the original masks, but these were specifically made to fit the new actors. Director, Renny Harlin, said that the masks weren’t done until the first day of shooting. Luckily, we were able to get a sneak peek at the new masks. Not only were we able to see the masks in person, we were even able to see them on screen. The masks looked incredibly eerie, especially in the nighttime forest scenes.
Overall, the upcoming trilogy intends to bring a character-driven ride through the world of the strangers; filled with tension, dread, and the history that the characters create as the movies continue. Unfortunately, we will have to wait until 2024 to see how the reimagining compares to the existing movies.