This film takes a whole new spin on the vampire craze that has been gripping humans since the 1922 hit Nosferatu. Beginning with a mysterious man arriving in a small Canadian town looking for a woman named Ana (Lorenza Izzo). A boy named Peter (Nicolás Durán) mournfully informs him that Ana is now dead and directs him to a graveyard where he can find her place of rest. While wallowing in sorrow on a park bench, a group of horrible teenagers led by Caleb (Ariel Levy) provoke him to attempt to gain a reaction from the sorrowful man who we later find out is named Martin (Cristobal Tapia Montt). Failing to get the reaction they oh so dearly desired, they proceed to beat him to a pulp, stab him and leave him for dead. But little do they know that Peter is watching and flags down a passing by policeman by the name of Lieutenant De Luca (Luis Gnecco). It turns out this lieutenant is Caleb’s father and is corrupt and attempts to dispose of the body. Yet again though, (this kid should be a ninja) Peter is watching and carries Martin on his bike trailer back to his home.
From here onwards is where the film picks up, leaving behind the gritty drama that the previous twenty minutes was. Peter’s mother comes and attempts to help the mortally injured Martin only to be stopped and told “do not touch my blood”. They give up and leave Martin alone. The gang find their way to Peter’s house after discovering the body missing. Peter quickly suffers a similar fate to Martin before his attackers are mysteriously set on fire and drained of their blood.
At this point we are assaulted with frequent flashbacks of Ana and Martin. It is at this point that the vampire theory starts to materialise. Although the “V” word is never once mentioned, it is blatantly obvious. Martin and Ana suffer aversions to sunlight, they are immortal and they drink blood; what else could they be? The flashbacks are a poor choice of storytelling. Too much relies on these flashbacks and to me, seem like a lazy way of telling a back story when they could have just as easily been manoeuvred into the modern day storyline. One thing to also note is if you are thinking of watching this film purely for Lorenza Izzo’s appearance, she appears in a total of about five minutes, so get that notion out of your head right now.
One thing that really stood out to me in a positive way about this film was the music; maybe my music critic side is chiming in but I really enjoyed the music in this film. Right from the first scene, the music was not your typical horror movie music. It was thought-provoking and really added a dark atmosphere to the entire film. Since the film overall didn’t impress me all that much, the music really helps to engulf you into the story.
Now that I’ve said my obligatory positive aspect of the film, back to all of its drawbacks; believe me, there are a lot of them. This film is supposedly set in Canada, yet it was filmed in Chile; and the fact it was filmed in Chile is extremely evident. The only thing Canadian about this film was the Police cars.
Now, I have never been to Canada. But I’m sure the Chilean population over there is not enough to overrun an entire town. The lack of attention to the culture makes this film less believable than it already was.
The main aspect of any film is acting. So why the directors insisted on casting such poor actors is beyond me. There isn’t a likeable character in the entire film. The character building is abysmal and the actors (bar Cristobal Tapia Montt, he’s actually OK) should go back to film school and learn the basics. Don’t even get me started on the absolute horrendous acting by Alessandra Guerzoni. She has such a large role when it comes to portraying emotions and she well and truly drops the ball on this one. I’ve seen more emotion from a house brick.
The Stranger had the opportunity to be something great and possibly introduce an entirely new vampire possibility. But this reeks of a movie that was rushed and had a serious neglect of thought. I feel as though not much effort was put into this film; and this is evident from the lack of culture attention to the poor choice of actors. If you’re like me and you enjoy vampire films and was excited to watch a new take of the genre; do yourself a favour and give this one a miss.