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THE STRANGERS: PREY AT NIGHT
2018 / Horror
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7.5 / 10
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Directed by Johannes Roberts
Written by Ben Ketai
Starring Christina Hendricks, Bailee Madison, Lewis Pullman and Martin Henderson

A family's road trip takes a dangerous turn when they arrive at a secluded mobile home park to stay with some relatives and find it mysteriously deserted. Under the cover of darkness, three masked psychopaths pay them a visit to test the family's every limit as they struggle to survive.

The following tags are associated with this movie: slasher, sequel
The Strangers: Prey At Night (2018)
Review by Bradley Frohloff

8 / 10
I watched this movie in the theatre upon release and thankfully this sequel ditches whatever artsy agenda it was aspiring for in the original movie and re-aligns itself as a more prototypical slasher flick. I found it refreshing, not just because I love slasher movies but also because, to quote Uwe Boll, the "what you get every other fuckin' weekend type of movie" in theatres for horror these days seems to be from the supernatural, ghost, possession, demon persuasion.

The Strangers: Prey At Night does not really do anything to reinvent the slasher genre, it just goes balls out for stalk and slash with its open environment, holding back very few punches. Its retro-based soundtrack and few noticeable homages to older movies, such as the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, should hearken you decades back to when the slasher genre was once booming.

We still learn next to nothing about our masked assailants, but the one line that we do hear from one of them, who answers the exact same "why are you doing this?" question that was posed in the original movie but this time opts for "Why not?" with a smirk instead of the emotionless "Because you were home" response. This may seem like an insignificant difference, but I think it's a little easier to dissect as being that they simply enjoy the thrill of doing this to people.

The pacing of the movie is good, the main victims are quite two-dimensional with their angsty attitudes but because the movie feels like more of a straight slasher rather than just being an exercise in human cruelty (which it still is to some extent), it doesn't matter so much. It's quite interesting to see who is going to get killed or who will survive, not just from the group of victims but also from the group of masked strangers. The movie still boasts its "based on true events" claim, although it provides no validation of this, even less than the first movie which felt like a marketing tool that had little merit.

I found The Strangers: Prey At Night to be a mindlessly fun and exciting, carnage-laden slasher movie.
The Strangers: Prey At Night (2018)
Review by Michael Mahoney

9 / 10
To be honest, I wasn't expecting to enjoy this one. The first movie was the very definition of blah, and though I heard some positive things about this (along with quite a bit of negatives, to be sure), I didn't think it'd be something that worked for me. Boy, was I wrong.

The movie has a strong retro feeling, and you can tell by the title screen, the score (both song-wise and movie-wise), and the general vibe. It worked well with the cinematography to create an enjoyable and suspenseful movie. Just check out the pool sequence - absolutely loved what they did with the color scheme and sound.

As far as how the movie's better than the first, aesthetics aside, there are two important factors. For one, the setting is a lot more open (instead of just a house and the immediate vicinity, here we have a whole campgrounds), which really upped the game of cat and mouse. Instead of running room to room, there are tons of places both inside and out that can be the stage of a battleground or a makeshift hiding place.

Secondly, and I can't imagine this point would get much contention (though that shows I may not have met the internet), the characters are much more sympathetic. This is true, by-and-large, because they're a family. A dysfunctional, messed-up family, but a family all the same. The chemistry between the brother and sister felt pretty real to me, and generally, I cared far more about the fate of those involved here than I did from the first movie eight years ago.

I don't know any of these actors or actresses, but it was mostly solid performances throughout. Perhaps the weakest was Christina Hendricks (the mother), but at the same time, her character was going through a difficult time, so the lack of feeling she portrayed makes some sense. Martin Henderson was moderately generic, but tolerable enough. While at first Lewis Pullman wasn't working for me as the brother, he did start to grow on me, and ended up a good character.

Lastly is Bailee Madison - I really loved her character. Reminiscence of Anya-Taylor Joy's character in Split and Kiara Glasco's from The Devil's Candy, I thought that Madison had a lot of spunk here. She had the tough-girl look, but you know that she was just reacting to the struggles of being a teen. Her character was by far the best, and I'm glad the movie shines a light on her.

The gore here is pretty top-notch. It's not really the focus of the film (that'd be suspense), but it didn't shy away from some pretty gruesome sequences. Perhaps the bathroom death was the most shocking, but the pool scene, not to mention the finale, were both solid also.

I can't think of any major complaints about this flick, to be honest, which is odd, as it's a sequel to a very subpar film. I am a bit annoyed that they threw in the "this is based on a true story" tripe at the beginning, but otherwise, you have an atmospheric flick with a delightfully retro soundtrack (Kim Wilde, Bonnie Tyler, and Air Supply) and great aesthetics.

While it's a surprise to say, this film really took me for a ride, and though I was hesitant of watching it, it won me over.
The Strangers: Prey At Night (2018)
Review by Gary Dailey

7 / 10
The plot is really rather simple- I'd expect nothing less from a good ol' horror slasher. Though they somehow managed to take such a simple plot and stretch it out for an hour and a half, while also making it seem like it flied by. Props for that. They also did really well at the suspense-factor in the movie- you knew what was coming, but it still left you waiting for it.

The characters were rather 2D; but again, I'd expect nothing less from a slasher. The acting was decent for what it was and what they were given to work with, so credit goes there. I would say, though, that if they were looking for us to feel some sort of connection with the family (outside of a tally for body count), it likely fell flat due to the aforementioned 2Dness of the characters. The action and gore played out pretty well, too; though since the movie was fairly dark throughout, that might have helped make it a bit easier to manage.

And now the big part. The soundtrack. Maybe I'm just a sucker for 80s music and never really realized it, but the various songs that they were using throughout the movie really meshed well with whichever scene they were playing out in. It took what would normally be an average scene in any other movie with the "spooky music" and really amped it up. The previously mentioned pool scene really is the pinnacle of that, though the entire scene down to the lighting was really great.

The movie itself was decent, nothing super special (even factoring the soundtrack) but definitely something that could be popped in as a time waster while you're cooking dinner, doing chores, etc. Maybe have some friends over and give it a repeat. Also, as an aside- I did dig the old-timey font that they used for the title and credits at the beginning and end of the movie; it was a nice touch.

Overall, while I say the movie was 'decent' I do think I enjoyed it more than is merited, not sure why.
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