The Strangers: Chapter 1 parents guide

The Strangers: Chapter 1 Parent Guide

This limp horror flick is about as exciting as an extended game of ring-and-run.

Overall D

Theaters: After their car breaks down, a young couple are forced to spend the night in a remote cabin where they are terrorized by three masked strangers.

Release date May 17, 2024

Violence D
Sexual Content B-
Profanity D
Substance Use C-

Why is The Strangers: Chapter 1 rated R? The MPAA rated The Strangers: Chapter 1 R for horror violence, language and brief drug use.

Run Time: 91 minutes

Parent Movie Review

With the opportunity to interview with a big architectural firm in Oregon, Maya (Madelaine Petsch) and her boyfriend, Ryan (Froy Gutierrez) packed up the car and headed on an old-fashioned cross-country road trip. Near the end of the journey, they decide to stop for a bite at a diner, only to come back out and find that their car won’t start. There’s a mechanic in town who can deal with it, but not until tomorrow, so they’re going to be stuck at the only nearby short-term rental - a remote hunting lodge in the woods. It seems like a cozy diversion until Maya and Ryan start hearing people walking around the house, knocking on the door, singing songs in the darkness.

This movie could be charitably described as a slow burn, but that would imply the eventual emergence of fire. There is none. Not only does the screenplay keep recycling the same scares over and over again, but they weren’t particularly scary the first time. Do you know how many supposedly “tense” scenes in this movie involve a drawn-out version of someone playing ring-and-run on the house? It’s at least four. I stopped counting after that.

Sure, you say, but what happens when they open the door? Well, most of the time, nothing. Our erstwhile home invaders keep catching our plucky couple in inescapable situations before wandering off to catch the night air or take a smoke break (I assume, it’s never explained). By the time anyone gets hurt, you’ve probably forgotten it was a possibility.

Most of the issues in this supposedly scary movie are related to the profanity, which totals about 32 f-bombs and assorted other curses, plus brief social drinking and weed use. There is rather less blood and gore than found in other films in the genre, but you pay for it in other ways. (Like being bored out of your gourd the entire time.) This is only a 91-minute movie to start with, and when you ignore the credits and opening crawl (a longwinded pitch about the crime rate in America, implying that this is a true story), you’re down to maybe 80 minutes of film. In that time, I checked my watch seven times. Make of that what you will. The real tragedy here is that Chapters 2 and 3 were filmed at the same time, so no matter how badly this performs, I’m going to have to go sit through two more of these. The hardest part is staying awake.

Directed by Renny Harlin. Starring Madelaine Petsch, Gabriel Basso, Rachel Shenton. Running time: 91 minutes. Theatrical release May 17, 2024. Updated

The Strangers: Chapter 1
Rating & Content Info

Why is The Strangers: Chapter 1 rated R? The Strangers: Chapter 1 is rated R by the MPAA for horror violence, language and brief drug use.

Violence: An individual is killed with an ax off-camera. A character unwittingly puts their hand down on a nail, impaling it. A dead bird is seen dripping blood. Characters are knocked out and stabbed with a kitchen knife. A man is shot and killed.
Sexual Content: A couple are shown kissing passionately and beginning to undress before being interrupted. A woman is seen from the shoulders up in the shower.
Profanity: There are 32 sexual expletives, 11 scatological curses, and occasional use of mild profanity and terms of deity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Adult characters are seen drinking socially and briefly smoking marijuana, which is legal in that state.

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Home Video

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This is a continuation of the Strangers franchise. Other home invasion stories include Us, Knock at the Cabin, Intrusion, and Don’t Breathe.