The Strangers Are Back at SXSW!

If you thought you were safe from the terrifying trio of masked maniacs known as The Strangers, think again. Lionsgate is resurrecting the hit 2008 horror film with The Strangers: Chapter 1, set to slash its way into theaters on May 17, 2024.

The reboot of the home invasion chiller got an early preview down in Austin at the SXSW Film Festival this week. Eerie new photos from the festival tease the return of the remorseless killers donning the unsettling disguises of a doll-faced female, a sack-headed male, and the most iconic of the trio – the man in the bloody smock and creepy smiling mask.

Strangers photos from SXSW
The Strangers in Austin, TX

In the new Strangers iteration, a young couple’s road trip goes horribly awry after their car breaks down, forcing them to seek shelter in a remote cabin. What starts as an inconvenience quickly descends into sheer terror when the three masked strangers begin terrorizing them for no apparent reason.

The unlucky victims at the center of this new nightmare are portrayed by Riverdale’s Madelaine Petsch and Froy Gutierrez of Cruel Summer and Teen Wolf fame. From the chilling trailer, it’s clear they are in for a fight for survival against ruthless adversaries.

Renny Harlin, the director behind adrenaline-fueled thrillers like Cliffhanger, Die Hard 2, and Exorcist: The Beginning, takes the reins as director. The script hails from the writing duo of Alan R. Cohen and Alan Freedland, expanding on the original story and characters created by writer/director Bryan Bertino for the 2008 cult classic.

While plot details are still tightly under wraps, the new Strangers film is billed as “Chapter 1,” strongly hinting that this is intended to launch an entire horror franchise should it prove a box office smash. Producers Courtney Solomon, Mark Canton, Christopher Milburn, Gary Raskin, Alastair Burlingham, and Charlie Dombek are clearly hoping audiences can’t get enough of the terrifying Strangers mythology.

The original Strangers was a surprise hit, earning over $82 million at the box office against just a $9 million budget. It starred Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman as the ill-fated couple victimized by the creepy masked assailants for seemingly no reason other than being home when they knocked.

That unsettling aspect of random, motiveless violence and terror is what gave the original film its sting and appears to be carrying over to the new reboot based on the ominous trailer. When you have no idea why you’re being targeted, it’s even more horrifying.

Fans of the first Strangers who have been clamoring for the sadistic masked slashers to make a return to the big screen are getting their wish next May. If the new photos from SXSW are any indication, the trio’s new reign of terror looks demented and deeply unsettling.

Just be sure to double-check those locks and don’t answer any late-night knocks when The Strangers: Chapter 1 arrives in theaters next year. Something wicked has returned, and it’s coming for you…

Strangers photos from SXSW
Strangers photos from SXSW