Horror Club - The Strangers: Prey At Night (Spoilers)
It's been ten long years since The Strangers debuted; a film that caught the attention of horror fans around the world with its concept of complete stranger-on-stranger violence and very unique ending that left audiences in shock. The Strangers finally got a chance to follow-up to the box-office hit with The Strangers: Prey At Night which was released in theaters this weekend. Soulless Cult hit our theater to see if the sequel is worth your time and money, and if the three masked killers do another sick job this time around!
Directed by Johannes Roberts, The Strangers: Prey At Night follows the lives of your typical American family: a middle age husband and wife, and their two teenage kids. Mike And Cindy are sending their misbehaving daughter Kinsey to boarding school, and before dropping her off at her new school, the family decide to spend the weekend at their Uncle Marvin's trailer park to share some last minute time together. Upon getting settled into the trailer they are staying in for the weekend, the family notice that the rest of the trailer park is abandoned; the park seems to only really be in use during the summer vacation months, and during the winter only Uncle Marvin and his wife occupy the grounds. Assuming they are now alone, the family become a bit creeped out when a strange girl keeps knocking on the door asking if a girl named Tamara was home, and then taking off into the dark. It isn't long after that the notorious trio of masked killers - Pin Up Girl, Man In The Mask, and Dollface - begin their devious, violent, and straight up brutal descent upon the the family of four.
If you walked away from The Strangers satisfied with the film, there's a good chance you'll also leave Prey At Night with an overall positive outlook on the film. The concept between both films is identical: a family undeserving of a demise comes face to face with a violent group of killers who are there for no other reason than to just kill. No real motivation, no real reason - just a relentless slaughter of your everyday family for the sake of joy-killing. To some, this concept alone is absolutely terrifying: the fact that someone could just enter their home in the dead of night and begin slaying family member after family member simply for the bloodlust is horrifying. That fear is what these films feed off of, and for what it is, it does the job. Prey At Night is essentially a cat-and-mouse chase through an abandoned trailer park, and the family members can only hope that they can survive the night. If you can get past the notion that there's no real mindblowing story or Academy Award-winning tale in the movie, and if you can appreciate the thrill of the hunt Prey At Night offers, this movie will definitely be worth your time and money.
There really is a lot to like about this movie; the family feels like your everyday family, the killers are silent and violent, the chase is pretty thrilling, and while the ending isn't anything too crazy, it fits the story just fine. The actual kills themselves could have been a little more creative and gory, but in keeping with the "real factor" (that this could happen to you or me) that The Strangers initially presented, Prey At Night follows up with the same level of gore (which isn't much besides blood) and extremity of the kills. This movie obviously wasn't meant to be Gorefest 2018: it was meant to feel like it could really happen, and that message is no doubt brought across to audiences. So if you're going in to this film expecting anything besides that, you're going to find yourself disappointed in the movie, which is totally understandable.
Overall, as a sequel to the 2008 film, Prey At Night does a good enough of a job to bring the story alive once again and deliver a few good jump scares and thrills. There's nothing in the film that will really make it stand out among a lot of the other horror films that will be released this year, but that definitely doesn't make it a bad film by any means, there's just nothing extraordinary about it that will totally blow your mind. Everything from the acting, to the soundtrack, to even the camera work (there's a really great dramatic zoom-in on the son that I loved) is overall great. You definitely begin to feel for the family members; even though they have their own issues, they are still a family and it sucks it happens to them. But the killers - identities shielded by masks - are terrifying in their delivery and their mindless killing, and appearances in the film are pretty sweet. Prey At Night is overall worth your time if you're in the mood for a light story and cat-and-mouse chase that doesn't really involve much thinking - just don't expect to see any genre-defining moments in what is hopefully not the end of The Strangers films.