The Strangers: Chapter 1 might "deal with the same premise" as the original, but its sequels shed light on some unanswered questions from the 2008 horror movie

The Strangers: Chapter 1
(Image credit: Lionsgate)

Bringing back classic horror franchises seems to be all the rage nowadays, and the next filmmaker to do so with The Strangers: Chapter 1, a riff on the 2008 slasher fave, is director Renny Harlin. With it set to be the first of a new trilogy, though, he sees it more of an expansion than a straight-up remake.

"It's one huge movie that takes place [across] approximately five days. The objective was to show what happens to somebody if they survive this kind of horror," Harlin says of the three-part series in the new issue of SFX magazine, which features Doctor Who on the cover. "How does it affect them psychologically? What can it do to them?"

Directed by Bryan Bertino, The Strangers follows a couple on the rocks who book a secluded family-owned cabin in the woods, only to have their quiet night away turned into a living nightmare as three masked intruders start hunting them down. Harlin's take, starring Madelaine Petsch and Froy Gutierrez, sees another try to celebrate their anniversary with a cross-country road trip. But they run into some car trouble on the way to their Airbnb, and, you guessed it, get viciously hunted down by a trio of anonymous killers. 

"A lot of the first movie deals with the same premise as the original movie, but then we completely continue on another journey, but with basically the same characters," says the Deep Blue Sea helmer. "Where the first movie ends, let’s see what happens the next day..."

So why make three movies? "It really is one big four-and-a-half hour film that is broken into three chapters. My belief is that the audience is ready for something like this..." explains Harlin. "Why not do two movies at once, or three movies at once, and have them come out four or five months apart or something like that? I find it a very intriguing and interesting model and I’m as curious a if people will really embrace the idea."

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The Strangers: Chapter 1 releases on May 15. The above is just a snippet from our interview, available in the latest issue of SFX magazine, which features Doctor Who on the cover and is available from Wednesday, May 17. See what you should be looking out for on newsstands below...

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Nick Setchfield
Editor-at-Large, SFX Magazine

Nick Setchfield is the Editor-at-Large for SFX Magazine, writing features, reviews, interviews, and more for the monthly issues. However, he is also a freelance journalist and author with Titan Books. His original novels are called The War in the Dark, and The Spider Dance. He's also written a book on James Bond called Mission Statements.