The Strangers: Prey at Night - 2018
Director(s): Johannes Roberts
Writer(s): Bryan Bertino and Ben Ketai
Cinematography by: Ryan Samul
Editor(s): Martin Brinkler
Cast: Christina Hendricks, Bailee Madison, Emma Bellomy, Martin Henderson, Lewis Pullman and Damian Maffei
Synopsis: A family staying in a secluded mobile home park for the night are visited by three masked psychopaths, to test their every limit (IMDB).
Hey guys do you remember the 2008 super scary and successful Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman vehicle The Strangers? I didn’t because I kept thinking about the 2007 super scary and successful Kate Beckinsale and Luke Wilson vehicle Vacancy for some reason. Well it doesn’t matter if you do or don’t, here is the sequel you have been waiting for all this time. I mean the ending of Vacancy took me by surprise, maybe I would see it coming now but back then I didn’t at all. I wonder if we are getting a sequel to Vacancy… Right. Anyway. The Strangers: Prey At Night is a truly scary movie. It’s scary how predictable this movie is. It’s scary how much it borrows from other movies. It’s scary how stupid the characters are. It’s scary how I don’t want to write this review. It’s scary that I will.
Johannes Roberts comes back to the horror genre following up his 2017 box office hit 47 Meters Down or, like I call it, “Not the Blake Lively one”. I guess they had a meeting and said to themselves that this sequel should feel and look like a Friday the 13th movie from the 80s. There are a lot of zoom in and out that really doesn’t add anything to the situations. There is only one effective zoom in and it’s to show the reaction of one of the characters as they watch a loved one get murdered. Outside of that, they just felt forced and out of place. I get that they were trying to go for a retro look but it felt artificial and out of place. There are also moments of “tension” where the camera work could’ve added a lot. In movies like this, the camera has to play a hide and seek game with the audience, hiding the killers for just long enough that the tension builds and it’s released with the reveal of them.
Also, this movie weirdly wanted to be retro in their world, even though it was set in present time. The music and the setting felt like it was in the 80s for some reason. The killers were always blasting 80s pop music. I guess they are killer hipsters. There is one scene in where the killer doesn’t do anything until he finds an 80s song on the radio. I guess they saw Stranger Things and thought nostalgia will fill in the huge cracks in our movie.
Bryan Bertino and Ben Ketai wrote four absolutely dumb characters and three demi gods that will never lose at hide and seek. This family either has never seen a horror movie or they all suffered concussions right before the movie starts. They split up at unnecessary moments, they don’t get in their cars and bolt. They go inside dark houses where murders occurred. They say “Hello” to noises AFTER they ran into the killers. I would understand a “Hello” before you know there are killers, but after? Screaming their plans as they run through the fields instead of hiding against objects as to not be seen. As for the killers, they find these people anywhere, everywhere and at any time. It got to a point that I was just expecting them to appear inside their clothes and kill the kids. There isn’t one single moment I identified with during the runtime. I couldn’t care less about the characters. When one died, I said to myself, “good, that’s why you get for being so dumb.”
Quick note: I also spent a huge part of the runtime trying to place the teenage girl of the movie. I just kept thinking to myself where in the hell have I seen her before? And just to save you some time she is the little kid from Adam Sandler’s Just Go With it. I’m here to help.
The Strangers: Prey at Night is a boring, trite, slog of a movie. There isn’t one single moment of tension. I didn’t find anything scary about it. The scariest part was how they could rip off the ending of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre and get away with it. Meh acting. Awful characters and overpowered killers that we are supposed to think are 1980’s hipsters and not demi gods…
Vacancy is the one in the motels, right? Yeah, where they made snuff videos. I remember now. I wonder how Luke Wilson is doing, I always liked him. Luke Wilson is why I love movies.
The Strangers: Prey at Night is currently playing in theaters. Don’t bother.
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