Saturday, September 26, 2015

Eli Roth Presents The Stranger (Scream Factory/IFC Midnight Blu-ray)

Eli Roth is making it big this year. With a second season of Hemlock Grove, Knock Knock, the major theatrical release of Green Inferno (finally!) and now The Stranger, Roth is showing just how much he loves Horror. He’s a busy guy in the Producer’s chair, and he has a knack for picking movies that fans ultimately enjoy. While I didn’t love Aftershock, it received solid reviews and approval for most folks in the Horror-verse. Scream Factory and IFC Midnight partner up once again to release a new Horror movie that ends up being a unique take on an old story.

The Stranger comes across as a vampire movie, but it isn’t your typical Chris Lee, Bela Lugosi, Lost Boys vamp flick. I’d closer pair it with a movie like Near Dark that looks at a case of vampirism as a true, spreadable disease with peculiar symptoms rather than a “blah blah blah, I’m going to suck your blood” story. First and foremost Director Guillermo Amoedo focuses on building a small group of believable flawed town folk followed by establishing a “bad boy” “vamp” that seems to have a bit more to his desperate, homicidal ways. Then he makes a great big turn for his leading afflicted fellow and gives him new purpose as a protector or humanity. It takes you off guard and that makes the story really pick up.

With some good effects work and a fresh face on small town undead, The Stranger understands that the world is ready for a more realistic bloodsucker. If you just call a vampire a vampire, you’re dumbing it down to a bunch of stereotypes. Even in The Stranger you’ll find some of the common pieces of vamp lore in plain sight, but it will feel fresh and new.

The disc comes with a  short film by Amoedo and a rather humorous and enlightening look into Chilewood (that’s Chile the country and wood as in Hollywood). The thing plays off like a promotional video for a travel destination but it provides insight into the relationship with Eli Roth and South American filmmaking.

If you enjoyed Afflicted, hate Twilight and enjoy the variation of the vamp in Near Dark (not necessarily the punker aspect), you’ll enjoy this one. I suppose the next question to ask is, is there a trend here? We have had a few movies that seem to focus on disease based Horror that yields supernatural results. I’m thinking of Spring and Afflicted and Contracted. Just something to think about as you check out this one. IFC Midnight succeeds in digging up good Horror and Scream Factory packages it for Horror fans.

Just a note: I’m the one referring to the main character as a vampire. It’s my interpretation of the creature in the movie. I really can’t recall the characters in the movie outing him as a vamp.

You can order The Stranger now from Scream Factory.

From Scream Factory:

Eli Roth (Cabin Fever, Hostel, The Green Inferno) presents a riveting masterpiece from writer/director Guillermo Amoedo (Aftershock, The Green Inferno, Knock Knock) with this macabre and gruesome tale set in a small town.

A mysterious stranger, Martin (Cristóbal Tapia-Montt), arrives seeking to kill his wife Ana (Lorenza Izzo, The Green Inferno, Aftershock) who suffers from a very dangerous disease that makes her as addicted to human blood as he is. But when he discovers that Ana has been dead for a couple of years, Martin decides to commit suicide to definitively eradicate this peculiar disease which imbues his blood with healing powers. Before he can do it, however, Martin is brutally attacked by three local thugs, led by Caleb, the son of a corrupt police lieutenant. The incident suddenly initiates a chain-reaction that plunges the community into a bloodbath.

Bonus Features
Short Film, The Fourth Horseman
Welcome To Chilewood Featurette With The Filmmakers
Theatrical Trailer (U.S.)
Theatrical Trailer (Chile)
Still Gallery

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