“The Strangers: Prey at Night” attempts to be different, but still follows the formula.

There will be spoilers for the following films:

The Strangers: Prey at Night
A Quiet Place
Get Out

“Is Tamara home”, is the haunting phrase you think, when The Strangers comes in mind. Simple, yet confusing in many ways. When you think about the film and it’s premise, there’s not much to it. It’s a basic home invasion story, in which a couple is terrorized by three people in masks at an isolated cabin. It managers to deliver on the scares, and this 2008 film became an instant classic as it brought home invasion to a whole other level.

It’s been ten years, and the long awaited sequel was finally released. The Strangers: Prey at Night is about, “A family of four staying at a secluded mobile home park for the night are stalked and then hunted by three masked psychopaths” – IMDb. Awesome right?! That’s a simple premise, but still compelling as long as we get to see our killers again.

Rumors were flying around that Liv Tyler was to reprise her role, as we weren’t sure if she really died at the end or not of the first film. Sorry if I just spoiled the first movie for you, but if you’re reading an article about the SEQUEL, then I would hope you would’ve seen it. Also, the movie’s been out for ten years, so come on people! Once the trailer (no pun intended) came out, it was clear that Liv wasn’t returning. Here we have a whole new cast. On paper, it’s a fairly descent cast, so that was enticing. The expectation was high, seeing how they’ve been “working” on this for ten years. As I’ve learned from the past few years of film, try not the make the expectations super high, especially with a sequel. It’s very difficult to outdo the original, with few exceptions.

What I took away from this film, is that they didn’t want to copy the original, which I greatly appreciated. They took the characters, and went a completely different direction. These are some of the characteristics that differed:

The Strangers
– The killers took their time, and played more of a psychological game
– The killers relied on sound as a scare tactic

 

The Strangers: Prey at Night
– 
The killers were more aggressive, and got straight to the killing
– Sound was hardly used as a scare tactic in this film

These really make or break the film. What’s so good about the original, is the sound design. The sound makes it suspenseful and scary. That’s what we like about the Strangers film. Unfortunately, these characters can’t be portrayed another way like in the sequel. Or maybe they just needed a different script.

Prey at Night was just another annoying, old copy cat sequel. Not similar the first one, but there’s definitely a formula trend in horror right now that every film seems to be going for. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, you just have to do it right and be somewhat original. That trend seems to be unexpected deaths. A common trait in previous horror films is that a main character’s death is dragged out. This meaning, they like to show the character up until their last breath. This usually begins with a chase scene, or a simple game of hide and seek. Some examples in other films are in Get Out, and A Quiet Place. In Get Out, Chris manages to escape the family, and kills everyone in about five min. In, A Quiet Place, the youngest son is quickly, surprisingly killed in the first scene. In, Prey at Night, they kill off the mom, dad and all of the strangers. The difference between, Prey and the other two films, is how they execute. I didn’t feel a connection to either to Mom or Dad, which was the cause of storytelling. This made the deaths not too shocking and predictable. I will say, I was super surprised that they killed off the strangers. I enjoyed that aspect, as we learned they in fact can die, and that they are human. None of them were satisfying deaths either unfortunately.

Something they tried (and succeeded in ways) is the use of music. If you haven’t noticed, there’s a big 80’s trend in entertainment. Whether it’s kids on bikes or synthesized music, I feel it’s getting overused. This is unfortunate because I love everything about the 80’s! In Prey, the use of rock music was a major factor. The Man in the Mask seemed to love the music of Kim Wilde, Bonnie Tyler and Cambodia. This was a great aspect to add, but still seemed very forced. This is NOT an 80’s film, nor does it feel like it. Something that does stand out as a positive scene, was the pool scene. It opens up with “Total Eclipse of the Heart” by Bonnie Tyler. This was a great song choice, and fit the scene very well. I enjoyed how Luke handled this situation. When he killed the first stranger, it was very satisfying and I really liked how they did that.

I don’t want to bore you, as this is already fairly long. These are some of the things that bothered me a bit:

  • The strangers were a completely different cast
  • When Luke didn’t shoot Dollface, HE HAD THE PERFECT OPPORTUNITY
  • Bailee Madison as an actress (in this particular film) and her character
  • The “jump scare” in tunnel at the playground
  • The Man in the Mask kept coming back to life at the end

Here’s what worked in my opinion:

  • Luke
  • The pool scene
  • Luke and Kinsey’s relationship
  • The Dad’s death scene

I don’t like picking apart a film, as I know so many people put so much effort in to make it. I appreciate that, it gives us something to watch and enjoy. These criticisms are mostly just my thoughts, and things to look out for next time. Even though you may not like a film, you can still appreciate what went behind the making of it.

I could go on and on, but I’ll leave you with that. Overall, I don’t think this movie doesn’t compare to the original. The only similarities between the two are the killers.

What I absolutely LOVED about the marketing, was they made a music video to promote film. It shows the strangers, as they prepare for killing. In my opinion, this is way scarier than the actual film. Here’s the link: http://bloody-disgusting.com/videos/3486312/mickey-keating-directed-official-strangers-prey-night-music-video/ . If you haven’t seen it yet, I highly recommend you do! It might make up for the movie.

I would love to hear your thoughts on it though!

Thanks for reading!

 

RATING: 3/10 – Avoid

IMDb

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