A four-hour cut of The Strangers movies could happen in the future

The Strangers: Chapter 1 releases on May 17 and Chapter 2 is supposed to arrive later this year.
The Strangers. Photo Credit: John Armour
The Strangers. Photo Credit: John Armour /

The Strangers are again invading our theaters in a more epic and terrifying way than ever before. Released in 2008, the original film from director Bryan Bertino, starring Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman, existed on a simple premise: home invaders terrorizing a couple simply because they were at home at the wrong time.

Made on a $9 million budget, The Strangers became a sleeper hit, grossing over $80 million at the box office, leading to a sequel ten years later, The Strangers: Prey at Night. Distributor Lionsgate is taking things even further with a trilogy of films, kicking off with The Strangers: Chapter 1, starring Madelaine Petsch (Riverdale) and Froy Gutierrez, in theaters on May 17.

What makes this particular saga all the more intriguing is the release plan. Lionsgate intends to release all three movies in under a year, a rarity in Hollywood. While trilogies are all the rage in horror right now (see Halloween and The Exorcist), distributors usually spread the release dates out across a few years. Perhaps the most recent example of something similar to The Strangers is when Ti West released X and Pearl within the same year.

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

But here's something even more intriguing. It's possible that when all three movies have premiered in theaters, superfans could be treated to a 4.5-hour cut that combines the films into one frightening supercut.

Speaking with Variety, director Renny Harlin (The Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master) and Geobert Abboud, Lionsgate’s executive vice president of global distribution, have discussed the supercut possibility "at a high level."

Harlin revealed they would love to combine the three films so people can appreciate "the full arc" and see if viewers can handle dealing with "four and a half hours of dread and fear and terror and despair."

What can fans expect from The Strangers trilogy?

Producer Courtney Solomon told Variety how excited he was to work on The Strangers. His ambitions and story ideas led to a 285-page script penned by Alan R. Cohen and Alan Freedland, based on Bryan Bertino's story from the original.

He went on to express his eagerness to return to the series' home invasion roots and tap into that visceral fear and claustrophobia present in the first movie.

"It’s the primal nature of the original concept, these three random people and unexplained, random acts of violence, which is just so terrifying and real. I don’t know if you can improve upon that, so why don’t we take that basic premise as a starting point and modify it for a bigger story that becomes proper, character-driven horror."

The Strangers - Chapter 1
The Strangers - Chapter 1. Photo Credit: John Armour /

As for the film shoot itself, Harlin and the cast and crew shot for 52 days in Slovakia. Based on the Variety piece, it sounds like Harlin was more or less given free rein to direct the films in the way he saw fit. Because the script for all three was written beforehand, it allowed Harlin to film scenes interchangeably, like starting with the first part of Chapter 2 before pivoting to a scene from Chapter 3.

The plot is pretty standard to begin with, as the couple played by Petsch and Gutierrez is terrorized by masked invaders. But Harlin teases that the story's direction in chapters 2 and 3 will be "very surprising" for the audiences.

Star Madelaine Petsch echoed those sentiments in her statement.

"“Throughout every step of the next two films it’s just, ‘How is she going to get out of this terrorizing situation?' And it’s not necessarily all only home invasion, but they continue to invade her life in any way possible. Even in ways you don’t think are possible, they’re doing something f**ked up. We really bend the rules a lot, which is fun."

Hmm. I'm just speculating, but it sounds like maybe Petsch's character gets kidnapped by the end of the first movie, which would explain why she has to "get out of" a terrorizing situation that goes beyond a home invasion. Does that also mean Gutierrez's character gets killed off? This saga's descriptions excite me to see where they take the character arcs of both the protagonists and the antagonists.

We'll also finally learn who Tamara is!

We already know that Chapter 1 will be released in theaters on May 17, but we don't yet have official release dates for the next two movies in the franchise. According to Harlin, Chapter 2 will arrive in time for Halloween this year, while Chapter 3 will likely come out in the first couple of months of 2025.

I am very curious how this trilogy will pan out in theaters. I loved the original 2008 film and am a fan of Petsch's, so I've been eagerly waiting for this one to come out. Even though I didn't enjoy Prey at Night as much, I'm hoping this trilogy will be more successful. Does that mean the second and third movies will get shelved if it isn't? Or perhaps released on streaming? Seeing what shakes out will be interesting, but I'm hoping for the best!

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