The Strangers Chapter 1: Is Venus a Real Town in Oregon?

Directed by Renny Harlin, ‘The Strangers: Chapter 1’ reinvents the classic 2008 horror film, ‘The Strangers.’ It begins with a couple, Ryan and Maya, on a road trip to Portland, who are forced to stop in a secluded town called Venus. They hadn’t planned to stay there, but when their car broke down, they had no option but to spend the night there. One night in a strange town doesn’t seem like much in the beginning, but it takes a heavy toll when they are attacked by three people in masks. Watching the show sends shivers down one’s body and makes one wonder if there really is a town like this that should be avoided at all costs. SPOILERS AHEAD

The Fictional Town of Venus Serves as the Primary Location of the Trilogy

‘The Strangers’ series is entirely fictional and is based on the 2008 film written and directed by Bryan Bertino. Harlin’s version of the movie presents a different take, with the entire narrative split into three parts, all of which take place in the same town over the course of 4-5 days. Due to the constraints of the story, Venus becomes the only location for all three parts of the movie. However, the small Oregon town where terror reigns on any stranger unlucky enough to get trapped there is entirely fictional. There is a city named Venus in Texas, but it has nothing to do with the town in the movie.

What further removes Venus, Oregon, from reality is that the movie’s filming didn’t even take place in the United States, let alone Oregon. All three parts of the movie were shot concurrently over the course of fifty-two days. For this, the cast and crew flew to Slovakia, with its capital city, Bratislava, serving as the replacement for the town of Oregon.

Bratislava fulfills all the requirements the story demands, from a cozy cabin to lush woods that eventually trap the protagonists in one location and become a huge hurdle in their survival. The filmmakers decided to stick to one location for all three movies because it would cut the cost and allow them the freedom to make a good film even on a limited budget.

The most important thing for director Renny Harlin was to present the story as realistically as possible, and the setting of a small town works rather well with it. Instead of employing bigger sets and changing the setting for the three films, the director wanted the audience to feel the protagonist’s sense of claustrophobia. Setting the story in “a normal American town” also heightens the sense of foreboding where the audience becomes paranoid about their own journeys, worrying that one wrong turn could land them in a strange town where they don’t know anyone and are cut off from the rest of the world so much that even if they call for help, it will take a long time for it to arrive. By then, it might already be too late.

Read More: The Strangers: 10 Horror Movies Like It You Must Watch