The Strangers: Prey At Night (2018)

The Strangers; Prey at Night.jpg
Slasher Fiction

Director: Johannes Roberts
Running Time: 85 Minutes
Starring: Christina Hendricks, Martin Henderson, Bailee Madison, Lewis Pullman, Emma Bellomy, Damian Maffei, Lea Enslin

A family of four take a trip to a secluded trailer park, intent on spending some time together before rebellious daughter, Kinsey (Bailee Madison), is forcibly shipped off to boarding school. They arrive to find it deserted, which results in them being stalked by three masked psychopaths.

A sequel has been long in the works for 2008's The Strangers, a tense piece of horror which put viewers in the protagonists shoes, and felt frighteningly real. Taking the reins is 47 Metres Down director Johannes Roberts, and the result is a tonally confused piece of throwaway fare.

Image result for the strangers prey at night youtubeThis is the biggest problem, as there's an uncertainty about what this film wants to be. Does it want to be a goofy throwback to 80s slashers, complete with a soundtrack from the era? Or would it rather act as a creepy continuation of what made 2008's The Strangers work so well, squeezing as much tension out of the presence of these masked killers? If anything, it feels like an entirely different script had this title forced onto it, suddenly becoming an unnecessary sequel.

It's a shame, because there are some moments which show promise. One which springs to mind is a pool set fight, set to Bonnie Tyler's Total Eclipse of the Heart, and it's easily the high point of this film. There's also the sibling relationship, which is played believably between Bailee Madison and Lewis Pullman. It works more well than anything with the parents, which feels forced, but none of it is helped by the characters often making ridiculous decisions. One could argue they're simple mistakes any human could make, especially in a heightened life or death situation, but it's frustrating to watch.

The Strangers: Prey At Night is a tonally confused mess of a long delayed sequel, which can't sustain its few moments of promise. One suspects the franchise title was slapped onto an entirely different script, which would explain how at odds it all feels.