‘The Strangers’ – Renny Harlin Teases the Upcoming Trilogy’s Cohesive Story; And He’s Ready to Make More

Lionsgate is gearing up to unleash an entire trilogy of brand new movies set in the world of The Strangers, with The Strangers Trilogy set to be released in 2024. And they’ve enlisted director Renny Harlin (Deep Blue SeaThe Long Kiss GoodnightDie Hard 2) to helm the ambitious new trilogy.

Harlin and producer Courtney Solomon (CakeAfter franchise) are set to introduce an exclusive first look at the trilogy during their New York Comic Con panel at 3 p.m. ET today (October 12), where they’ll also discuss making all three films. 

The trilogy stars Madelaine Petsch (“Riverdale”), Froy Gutierrez (Hocus Pocus 2), Rachel Shenton (The Silent Child), Ema Horvath (“Rings of Power”) and Gabe Basso (Hillbilly Elegy). 

Based on the original 2008 cult horror franchise, the project features Petsch, who drives cross-country with her longtime boyfriend (Gutierrez) to begin a new life in the Pacific Northwest. When their car breaks down in Venus, Oregon, they’re forced to spend the night in a secluded Airbnb, where they are terrorized from dusk till dawn by three masked strangers.

Ahead of the NYCC panel, Bloody Disgusting spoke with Harlin to get a better idea of what to expect from not just one new Strangers feature but all three.

The Strangers trilogy

Froy Gutierrez as “Ryan” and Madelaine Petsch as “Maya” in THE STRANGERS Trilogy, a Lionsgate release. Photo Credit: John Armour for Lionsgate

Harlin comes to the project as a massive fan of Bryan Bertino’s unsettling 2008 film and details how he got involved in the new trilogy.

Harlin explains, “The original film is one of my all-time favorite horror films, and what’s so incredible about it is that it feels so real. There’s nothing supernatural about it. It’s just two people in the wrong place at the wrong time, and the randomness of the violence that they experience is so powerful, and it just plays on that very human feeling of safety and security and being able to have some kind of control over your life. It always stayed with me. When Courtney Solomon, the producer, sent me the script, I opened it, and it was 280 pages long; I thought he’s lost his mind.

“I read it, and I was just blown away by it. I called him, like, ‘This is incredible, but what? It’s 280 pages long?’ He said, ‘Yes, we want to make three movies.’ That’s when I understood the whole scope of this and that the idea here was to have a first movie that basically is a fairly faithful remake of the original film but seen now in today’s world 15, 16 years later. I think that, myself included, a lot of the fans of the original film, all these years we were asking ourselves and our friends like, ‘Why? Why did this happen? Who are these senseless killers? Who are they? Why were they doing this?’ The original movie ends with them just driving away. And you are like, what? To be able to make three movies where we start exploring the reasons; because even if the senseless acts of violence happen in our world happen in America all the time, unfortunately, there’s got to be some reason behind it.”

So, not to trivialize it or spell it out too much, the second and the third movies are an exploration of where did this come from,” Harlin continues. “More than anything, they are the exploration of what could happen to a person, in this case, a young woman who is the victim of such senseless violence. What does that do to you mentally and physically, and what’s your journey after that? It’s an exploration of that more than anything. And I think that we will answer a lot of the questions that the fans of the original have and then go far beyond that. By the end of the third movie, there are more questions than answers, really.

“I can’t wait to make the next three movies because I just think that we do something so interesting here; personally, I can’t wait to see where it goes after this.”

The Strangers Madelaine Petsch

Madelaine Petsch as Maya in The Strangers. Photo Credit: John Armour

In other words, only the trilogy’s first installment will take cues from Bertino’s original film, with the subsequent chapters forging new ground. When asked whether this meant distinctly different chapters or a cohesive story told in three parts, Harlin answered and explained why this approach sets the trilogy apart from usual horror sequels.

I would say that it’s one cohesive story,” the director stated. “I was so excited about the fact that this is not your usual case of let’s make a movie and then see if it’s successful, and then we’ll make a sequel a couple of years later, in which case always everything has changed, the world has changed, and the actors have changed, and you have to come up with a whole new thing. But in this case, the second movie continues immediately from where the first movie ended. Let’s say it’s no secret that the main character is Madelaine Petsch, who is the star of the first movie, she will continue to the second and the third movie, and it’s her journey that we are watching from the moment the first movie ends; we get to see what happens to her five minutes later.

The filmmaker previously revealed that the iconic masks the trio of killers wears in the franchise will remain. Being such a fan of the original film, the masks weren’t the only elements that Harlin wanted to incorporate or pay tribute to in his new trilogy.

“Definitely, the masks were an important part,” he tells us. “They are so iconic, and we wanted the fans and the people who are new to the movie to have that same experience from the original and give The Strangers that sense of random and senseless violence and not understanding who these people are, why they are wearing these masks, especially in the first film. Then, just the location of this house that seemingly is a nice warm house in the middle of nowhere. So, the environment and the surrounding impenetrable forest were all elements. Of course, that red and white truck has to be part of the movie. So there’s definitely those touchstones, even the record player and some of that music that plays in the first one, we are using it.

“We want the audience to feel at home with the first movie and then go far beyond it in the next films.

With Harlin and Solomon poised to debut a first look at the trilogy this afternoon, expect to hear more details soon. Stay tuned.

The post ‘The Strangers’ – Renny Harlin Teases the Upcoming Trilogy’s Cohesive Story; And He’s Ready to Make More appeared first on Bloody Disgusting!.