THE STRANGERS: PREY AT NIGHT
When Cindy and her husband, Mike, take their rebellious teenage daughter Kinsey and son Luke on a road trip, what began as an ordinary, gripe-filled family excursion soon becomes their worst nightmare come to life.
Director: Johannes Roberts
Writers: Bryan Bertino, Ben Ketai
Stars: Christina Hendricks, Martin Henderson, Bailee Madison
Rating: 7 / 10 Stars
REVIEW – My feelings are on the fence about what I just witnessed. What made the first film such a fun ride was the mystery behind it. We really never had a clue as to why these three hooded figures were stalking this couple in the middle of the night. The first half hour of the original built up our two main leads. We were thrown into their lives and watching them in the first twenty minutes we became worried about their future. Bryan Bertino made a tense and mysterious little horror film that had us at the edge of our seats. The sequel tries very hard to be “ just another horror film” The first half hour again tries to build up our main characters, the issue is that the script is so flimsy and flat that we really do not get a sense of realness from any of them. We have the goth daughter who does wrong and has to go away to a special place to help her. The family decide that they all have to go for this trip. Johannes Roberts is the director in the sequel and I feel he had a reversal of sorts. 47 Meters Down, his last film was slated to debut on home video and instead the studio went under and another studio released it to a successful run in the theater. Now, with this film it felt like it was a reverse that this film would have been better suited as a direct to dvd sequel and not a theatrical run. Everything about this film just feels so cheap. The soundtrack was fun. They played a ton of 80’s staples during some key scenes. It took away from the horror of the moment and made it feel campy. Which I feel was a studio call and not a director.
I will be honest, the last half hour of this film was the stronger material. That being said, it was also the most scratching moments of both the original and sequel. You try to humanize the enemies. The first film did that as well. They can be anyone. This is your formula you are telling us. We want you to believe that this can be any person you meet. So, why do you throw that out the window when you want to make the final battle feel cheap? How much blood can someone bleed and still be alive? I understand this is a horror film, but when you are trying to make us think it is based on true events. The film was not all that bad. I would put it in the same company as Vacancy 2 or Feast 2. A film that wanted to be more than it actually was. This film was 11 years plus in the making, and this is what they thought up? The final scene left us with many questions, not one that was really important. I get where they want us to assume they are going, but it makes little to no sense if they go that route. The acting in the film was fair. Everyone was game for their part. I feel though this film relied too heavily on dumb jump scares and things that we know could not possibly happen. Where the first film was more natural and made us feel the fear coming. This film the three strangers take on a Michael Myers and Jason approach. I hate to think that 11 years down the line, we get a third film. That is all I need at 61 years old to criticize a third film and look like a bitter old fart. Well, the bitter old fart part may be right now, who really knows.
THE STRANGERS: PREY AT NIGHT | Official Trailer: