A remake of 2008 horror movie The Strangers is reportedly in development at Lionsgate. Renny Harlin (Cliffhanger, Die Hard 2) has been hired to direct the film, which is being planned as the first in a trilogy.
Madelaine Petsch (Riverdale), Froy Gutierrez (Cruel Summer) and Gabriel Basso (Hillbilly Elegy) have been tapped to star.
The original 2008 film follows a couple whose stay at a vacation home is disrupted by three masked criminals who infiltrate the house simply because they were home. The movie was a sleeper hit and over the years became a mini cult classic. A sequel, Strangers: Prey at Night, was released in 2018 to mixed reviews.
The new Strangers film will follow a woman as she drives cross-country with her longtime boyfriend to begin a new life in the Pacific Northwest. When their car breaks down in Oregon, they’re forced to spend the night in a secluded Airbnb, where they are terrorized from dusk till dawn by three masked strangers.
Lionsgate plans to expand the story from there in new and unexpected ways with its sequels, which Harlin has also signed on to direct. Alan R. Cohen and Alan Freedland (Due Date) have penned the script. Harlin said in a statement:
“My mother instilled the love of movies in me through the world of Hitchcock and other masters of suspense and horror. My breakthrough to Hollywood happened with the success of A Nightmare on Elm Street 4.
It is only fitting that I get to return to my favorite genre with the incredibly well written trilogy of The Strangers. The characters and the storyline are all grounded in reality and offer me an endless tapestry of haunting visuals in bringing these movies alive.”
Producer Courtney Solomon added: “When setting out to remake The Strangers, we felt there was a bigger story to be told, which could be as powerful, chilling, and terrifying as the original and could really expand that world. Shooting this story as a trilogy allows us to create a hyperreal and terrifying character study.”
It will be interesting to see how The Strangers works as a trilogy. Much of the praise for the original was centered around its criticism of the ostensible safety of pastoral life, how it worked as an exploration of stranger-on-stranger violence, and its views of death in a post-9/11 world as random and unforeseen.
A trilogy following the same masked killers doesn’t sound like it will work quite as well. But the mention of Airbnb in the synopsis suggests Lionsgate are planning to update the films to comment on more contemporary issues.
The Strangers remake will enter production in Slovakia later this month.