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The Strangers: Prey at Night

2018-04-20 07:50

What it's about:

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

What we thought:

We’ve had some really good horrors come out recently, with A Quiet Place kicking down doors and taking names (silently), but it doesn’t mean we’re not still going to get the cheesy, predictable slasher genre that’s defined the genre for a long time. Strangers: Prey at Night feels quite similar to its predecessor in terms of format and concept, with so many ‘easter eggs’ that it just feels like the same movie set in a different location with more people to torture.

The movie delves into the fear of random violence, with a family targeted purely for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, and although this may have worked for the first film in 2008, it’s ten years later and today terrorism attacks have us more scared of what can happen in public places than in our own home.

A family on their way to drop off their unwilling daughter at boarding school stops over at their uncle’s caravan park, but instead of a restful night they spend it being tortured physically and mentally by a group of masked psychopaths.

The whole movie is just cliché from start to finish, with creepy masked people staring through windows, taking down doors with axes and menacing teenagers with big scary trucks. The only reason this movie got an extra star is for one scene that was actually well-crafted and a shining jewel among the bloody mundane.

The scene is shot in the park’s poolside area, with music playing while one of the teenagers battle it out with one of the masked men. It showed a spur of creativity on the part of the director and cinematographer – contrasting what’s happening in the pool above and below the surface with well-placed shots and positioning of the ordinary poolside lights and chairs as if ready for a party while life-and-death plays out in the water. It’s so well-done that it made the rest of movie look even worse, making you wonder what happened to that mastery in other scenes.

Judging by the way the first one ended – with the killers escaping and stating that next time will be easier – we always knew there were plans for a sequel, but it’s ten years later and most people would have forgotten the first one existed. It’s also a different director – Johannes Roberts has a long line of average horror movies – which may have taken away some of the newness of the first movie with rehashed jump scares and general 80s slasher methods.

The lead is your typical angsty teenager angry at everyone (Bailee Madison) alongside her jock brother (Lewis Pullman) and their idiotic parents doing all the stupid horror stuff that makes you shout at the screen. Besides Madison, who’s been acting since she’s been in diapers, the only other face you’ll recognise is Christina Hendricks, who plays the mom. She and her husband are really not great parents, a common theme for horror movie parents, and you really wonder how even just one of their kids turned out okay. Performance wise there’s not much more you can do than scream and run, which I guess they did fine.

The Strangers: Prey at Night is really nothing more than what you see in the trailer, with no unexpected twists unlike the first one. It’s straightforward enough that you may get a jump or two, but at some point you actually just get bored with the slow-moving masked psychos. Even the end doesn’t feel that ominous leaving you with little interest in seeing another sequel.

If you feel like getting scared this weekend, then A Quiet Place is definitely worth a thousand cinema tickets compared to this mediocre trash.

Read more on:    christina hendricks  |  movie review

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