A mysterious stranger, Martin (Cristl 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, lead by Caleb, the son of a corrupt police lieutenant. The incident suddenly initiates a chain-reaction that plunges the community into a bloodbath.
In the film, THE STRANGER, a man by the name of Martin Paole has arrived in a small Canadian town with only one thing on his mind, to locate his wife Ana, who fled there some time ago. It is revealed to us that Ana has a rare blood disease, one that imbues her blood with healing powers, but also gives her an insatiable hunger for it. 16 years prior, Martin helped his wife escape, after she killed a young woman. But what was meant to end in her death, as well as Martin's(as he too carries the disease), was halted, once Martin had learned she was pregnant. From there, that is when Ana took to Canada, thus escaping her husband, as well as others who looked to do her harm for her crime. So, in short, Martin has come to Canada, to first kill Ana, and then himself, thus eradicating their terrible disease. But when he arrives, he is surprised that Ana has been long dead. So, then he moves on the the second part of the plan - his suicide. However, before it can go down, Martin finds himself, beaten, stabbed and left for dead after an attack by a bunch of thugs led by Caleb. He miraculously survives the attack after which, he is saved by a young boy named Peter, who takes Martin to his house. He and his mother look to care for the man, but are surprised when Martin is cautious when it comes to his blood - as he warns them not to come in contact with it. Not only can Martin's blood heal, it is also very contagious, causing an irresistible thirst. From here, the rarity of Martin's disease, as well as its healing power, becomes a theme. After the young boy, Peter is beaten up by Caleb and company as well, Martin's retaliation, sets off a chain reaction, and it is when Martin saves Peter from near fatal burn wounds, that Caleb's, father, who is also a Lieutenant of the local Police, catches wind of Martin's blood and its special healing powers. This of course causes a lot of bloodshed, as every one begins to desire for an uncertain immortality, albeit, one with consequences.
THE STRANGER, a film whose country of origin is Chilie, is one that I was not sure of, especially as it touts an "Eli Roth Presents" subtext. I mean, is that something to be truly excited about? Sure, while Roth has made one really great film, and a few decent others, he isn't as big a name as say, a Carpenter or Craven. Yes, he is a Producer here, but his name has more or less just been attached, due to the hype surrounding his latest film, THE GREEN INFERNO, and the upcoming Keanu Reeves starrer, KNOCK KNOCK. So, before going in, just know that Eli Roth seems to have had little to do with the outcome of this film. And in this case, that is a good thing.
Deep down, THE STRANGER is a vampire film, yet doesn't treat itself as one, more or less, is the term "vampire" even used in the film. It is never said, and there are no fangs to be seen, yet we know what it is, That is one of the good things about THE STRANGER, as it is sort of a modern take on the vampire, without going all out, and being all eccentric and showy. Instead, it is a low key, steadily progressing Horror tale, which relies both on drama, and storytelling, in order to get its point across. And it does a fairly nice job of it. A good majority of the film is great progressive storytelling, as we learn the story of Martin, both in his past and present. The film keeps going in it's further story developments, as things become increasingly interesting, as the film movies along. I really liked the flashbacks consisting of Martin and Ana, as they struggle to keep their thirst for blood at bay, as well as later in the film, when Martin grows closer to Peter, the young boy who came to his rescue. The latter, has a big revelation within, one that works well within the whole of the film's story.
A Horror tale, that is heavy on drama, THE STRANGER is a film that also has some decent performances, which truly help to elevate the film. Actor Cristobal Tapia Montt is good is "Martin", as he is able to bring about a decent level of emotion to the role. Also good her is NicolDuras "Peter", who essentially serves as sort of a sidekick for the older, Martin. While, granted, Durmay not be the best Actor, which is likely due to his inexperience, he still provides the film with a believable counterpart. On the other end, likewise are Ariel Levy and Luis Gnecco, who are Caleb and Lieutenant De Luca, the father-son due, who are the film's villains of sort. With this said all work together to create a rather sound experience.
Although I did not expect much from THE STRANGER, I have to say that overall, I did enjoy it, which is a bit of a surprise. Going in, I at least thought that this would be "just another vampire movie", and while down to its idea, it is indeed a vampire film, it isn't the average one in the least, because it is very different in its approach. The film relies much more on storytelling, instead of imagery. The first half of THE STRANGER is a really solid effort, I really enjoyed watching it unfold. However, the film is not without it's flaws. Because no matter how good it is overall, it does kind of lose steam while nearing the end, concluding in a manner that is very anti-climatic. Overall, we are left with a fairly decent film, but in the end, it is one that is less rewarding than it should have been.
IMPRESSION OF THE FILM
In all honesty, i'm not a huge vampire film fan. I am just not that much into them, aside from a few films. The list of vampire films that I do happen to like is relatively short(a list that MAY include THE LAST BOYS). But in saying this, THE STRANGER is a film that one could enjoy, even if they aren't a vampire fan. It's a nicely plotted Horror drama, that offers a little something different from the vampire norm. And while it's not perfect, it has more than enough reasons to recommend it. It's worth a watch.
Special Features include :
- Short Film, The Fourth Horseman
- Welcome To Chilewood Featurette With The Filmmakers
- Theatrical Trailer (U.S.)
- Theatrical Trailer (Chile)
- Still Gallery