By Mark Saldana
Rating: 3.5 (Out of 4 Stars)
From executive producers Nicolas Lopez and Eli Roth, The Stranger marks the English language debut of writer/director Guillermo Ameodo. The Uruguay native is better known for his Spanish language movies filmed in Chile. With The Stranger, Ameodo and company continue their tradition of working in Chile, but have decided to give this horror/thriller more of an American flavor. The story takes place in a small, normally quiet town where teen misfit Peter (Nicolas Duran) lives with his mother Monica (Alessandra Guerzoni). When a mysterious man (Cristobal Tapia Montt) comes into town seeking Peter and Monica’s former friend Ana (Lorenza Izzo), the once quiet municipality undergoes a violent and bloody transformation.
With outstanding acting and solid writing and direction, The Stranger is an intriguing and mysterious thriller that also deliciously serves its audience some horror goods as well. Never going too over-the-top, Ameodo builds up the suspense slowly and effectively and unleashes the wicked and frightening moments sparingly, but effectively. The movie doesn’t bring much new to the genre, but still makes an impact with some awe-inspiring moments, and superb performances from the cast. Nicolas Duran, who makes his film debut here, deserves high praise for delivering such an exceptional performance.