Perfect Stranger review (no spoilers), 10-years after the chilling thriller released

Its been a decade since the mysterious thriller Perfect Stranger (2007) was released in theaters this weekend, starring Halle Berry and Bruce Willis.

Originally released April 13, 2017, the film is about investigative journalist Rowena Price (Berry) who goes undercover as a temp hoping to prove the owner of the largest advertising agency Harrison Hill (Willis) killed her childhood friend Grace (Nicki Aycox).

The week before the murder, Grace wanted Price to write an investigative story on Hill, a married man Grace had an affair with after meeting him online through anonymous accounts. Price and her colleague Miles Haley (Giovanni Ribisi), an ex-boyfriend of Grace, look to not only solve Grace’s murder but produce a hard-hitting story to grace the front page of the New York papers.

With Price on the inside and Miles, a wierdo who is also obsessed with freaky online websites, setting her up with an online chat profile to get close to Hill, secrets are exposed and it turns that Hill isn’t the only one with a twisted love triangle when Price discovers her boyfriend Cameron (Gary Dourdan), who once cheated on her with Grace, could have been the father of the child that Grace was pregnant with.

No matter how rich Hill is, Price insists to Haley that Hill was more than capable of committing the murder of Grace himself and didn’t pay anyone else to do it.

“All it takes to commit a murder is the right ingredients at the right time,” Price tells Haley.

Willis (Die Hard & The Sixth Sense) is stellar playing Hill as an unpredictable and tempermate boss who goes from leaving a meeting cordially to tossing one of his employees out from under his desk when he smokes out a spy in his agency. He goes from 0 to 100 real quick which leads Price to believe he’s capable of murder, specifically someone who’s capable of murdering Grace.

While this character is partially intimating Willis does a great job of balancing this character as the married Playboy who flirts his way with the temps in the office and woman he meets online while having an urge of paranoyance to protect his company from spies his competitors may send.

With many highlights throughout the film his biggest comes when he loses it in a car when he finds out his temp Catherine isn’t who she says she is. Raising his voice when he finds yet another employee is not loyal and then his fist when Catherine digs at Hill’s loyalty towards his wife.

“Ahhh,” Hill raises his fist over his head but stops before lowering his voice stating, “just because you want to hurt someone doesn’t mean you will.”

Berry and Willis had great chemistry as it was the first time they were on screen together in 16 years as the two worked together in The Last Boy Scout (1991).

Rightfully winning BET’s Best Actress in 2008 for her role in this film, Berry is fierce, vulnerable, slick and sexy as Price. Using her eyes to convey many emotions, Berry made this film and her performance is further exemplieifed when rewatching the film knowing all the pieces to her character’s backstory.

In addition to astonishing acting on screen, the soundtrack and scoring of this film added personality to the film. While lyrical tracks could have taken away from the film, the instrumentals in this film were used appropriately and the mix of a sope opera sounding tunes to a faster paced thrill track, helped pull the elements of this film together to pull off a unique mysterious, dramatical and thrilling vibe.

As the story gets deeper, the fill takes a twist you won’t see coming even when you think you had it all figured out. It all makes sense in the end and makes you want to rewatch it to pick up on all the clues from the get-go.

Perfect Stranger is available to watch via Netflix.

By Gino Terrell


Gino Terrell is the Director of Content at Hidden Valley Culture Blog/In-Depth section. Terrell covered local artists and reviewed mainstream shows in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area under the Twin Cities Daily Planet (2014-15). He also freelanced for MinnPost and interned at Pioneer Press, KSTP TV (the Minneapolis ABC News Affiliate) and American Public Media Group. He's accumulated over 30 awards from the Associated Collegiate Press, Society of Professional Journalists and National Association of Black Journalists and founded award winning student-magazine Pipers In-Depth at Hamline University (St. Paul, Minnesota). He was once the sports editor for the school newspaper, The Oracle. Follow him on Twitter: @Gin026

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