Chapter 1′ was Originally a Four-Hour Movie

Horror

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The Strangers: Chapter 1

When Renny Harlin’s new trilogy of The Strangers movies was announced, I wasn’t quite sure I believed it, if only because it sounds like such an incredulous project. I’m a fan of both the original and Johannes Roberts’s Prey at Night, but neither was especially a killer box-office sensation. And, despite the love they get in the horror community, both were unequivocally critical duds. That makes the decision to not just make one, but three new movies based on the property unusual, even in an industry known for unusual decisions. I also wasn’t quite sure whether they were going to be prequels or reboots of the baby franchise. It looks like The Strangers: Chapter 1 will exist in the canon of the first two—which, to be fair, seems like a terrible idea—though curiously, director Renny Harlin originally conceived it as one giant movie, not three parts of a trilogy.

While speaking at WonderCon 2024, Harlin and producer Courtney Solomon shared that The Strangers: Chapter 1 was originally one giant movie before the decision was made to split it into a trilogy. Solomon remarked, “The script was 280 pages when he did it. And then it’s like a four-and-a-half-hour movie, so we had to divide it into three chapters because it was just too long to play in movie theaters and nobody could actually sit and watch it.”

I’m not sure I’d have the stamina, but if they did, for some reason, release a massive movie like that, there’s no doubt I’d be there to see it. Now that would be an event. At the same panel, director Renny Harlin shared that the original is one of the scariest movies he’d ever seen and his hope for the new trilogy is to maintain that same senseless terror. He additionally assured fans when he shared, “We are not copying the original movie, we are not making the same movie again.”

What do you think? Are you a fan of the original? Are you a fan of Renny Harlin? I definitely am, so it’ll be interesting to see how his blockbuster sensibilities translate into a home invasion slasher. Let me know your thoughts either way over on Twitter @Chadiscollins.

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