Don't Let The Trailer Fool You – The Strangers: Chapter 1 Isn't A Prequel

When the trailer for "The Strangers: Chapter 1" first dropped, fans were introduced to a new couple in a new setting, but the same ol' scary masked killers wreaking havoc simply because "you were home." Well, in the case of the new film, it's because "you were here," but there's no need to split hairs. As is the case with the existing two films in the "Strangers" series, the chaos begins when a mysterious young woman shows up unannounced asking if Tamara is home, the ringing death knell of all "Strangers" stories. From there, all hell breaks loose, set wonderfully to "Trouble" by Cage the Elephant, with an expertly placed repeat of "Oohs" that turns this alternative/indie hit into something that sounds far more sinister.

With a shockingly low track record at the box office so far, "The Strangers: Chapter 1" has the potential to be the first true financial hit for the horror genre in 2024. It's a well-loved IP, it stars Madelaine Petsch of "Riverdale" fame in her first leading role since the completion of the series that made her a household name, and it's the first in a series of three films set in the world of "The Strangers."

But there's something else in the trailer that might be confusing for casual viewers — a tagline that blasts across the screen that reads "This May, witness how The Strangers became The Strangers." This line, paired with the "Chapter 1" subtitle, certainly makes it seem like this new film is a prequel, doesn't it? Well, don't let the trailer fool you; "The Strangers: Chapter 1" is not a prequel. A reboot is probably the most accurate descriptor of the new film, as it isn't a remake of the original 2008 film from Bryan Bertino but borrows heavily from the source material.

The Strangers: Chapter 1 is a fresh start in the same world

After their car breaks down in a creepy town off the highway, a young couple (Petsch and Froy Gutierrez) have no choice but to stay in a hunting cabin in the woods while they await repairs. However, an idyllic night in the wilderness quickly turns into a nightmarish fight for their lives when three masked assailants show up unannounced and do all in their power to make sure the couple doesn't see the light of morning. Directed by genre favorite and superfan of the original film, Renny Harlin, all three installments of this new trilogy were shot back-to-back. "It's something that is, I think, everyone's worst fear: That in a safe home environment, there's a home invasion for reasons that you absolutely don't understand at all. And then just horrible violence ensues," the filmmaker told /News writer Bill Bria during an exclusive interview. He also called making the films "the chance of a lifetime," and said the trilogy is centered on Petsch's character, Maya.

The first film might not be a prequel, but it is the start of an expansion of the "Strangers" world. "Now that we filmed all three, we realized that we did answer a lot of the questions the fans and anybody who sees the first movie would have. But in a way, we left even more questions unanswered in the end of the third one," said Harlin. "So I hope people love these and they're very successful and we get to make many more and continue to really follow Madelaine's character and her journey."

"The Strangers: Chapter 1" is now playing in theaters.