The Strangers: Prey at Night is a slasher film focusing on a family as they are terrorised by 3 masked killers. Now before we begin I just want to say that I love the slasher films of the 1980’s. Prey at Night is not new or original, it is the same thing you’ve seen before, however, the unoriginality isn’t a bad thing here. What I mean by that is, though every cliché in the slasher genre is used here, Prey at Night is happy to point out the cliches and have a laugh at them. This film in many ways is a very loving homage to 80’s slasher films, with everything from the near unstoppable killers to the rebellious teenager, proving that this film is very aware of its DNA. To phrase my overall thoughts in a succinct way this is “horror junk food” it is dumb scary fun to be enjoyed until better, more inventive horror films, like Hereditary, arrive. I think in many ways this film is better for being a sequel, as the scope is far larger, yes, it is still confined to one family but, at the same time, the new setting, of a trailer park, allows for far more grizzly potential than the house setting of the first film. The overall mythology of the Strangers themselves is kept maddingly vague; beyond the “Why not” mantra. The 3 Strangers are all suitable menacing, with Doll Face and The Man in the Mask being particularly threatening. The weak point of the film comes from the family Cindy, Mike, Kinsey and Luke, (Christina Hendricks, Martin Henderson, Bailee Madison and Lewis Pullman, respectively) being so bland. Hendricks who is the films big star is barely in it, with Henderson and Pullman being so bland and generic that you forget who they are after a while. However, the saving grace comes from Bailee Madison. Madison’s Kinsey is the only real, compelling character who is given motivations and is somewhat developed; and, I would be very interested to see a third Strangers film focusing on her. My final two notes about the film are one: the score is fantastic, with the 80’s song choices helping to give this film some identity and cement it as a homage to the Craven era slasher. With the other being that the ending is left open enough to set up a third film, depending on how well this one does, and that is a prospect I quite welcome. Overall there is some genuinely good scares here and a strong amount of tension, defiantly a step up from the first film but, it’s still only slightly above average.
Reviewed by Luke.