In 2008 there was a knock on the door, and The Strangers had been born. Bryan Bertino’s darkish and foreboding dwelling invasion thriller shocked many audiences with its brutality and dedication to its gloomy ending, and plenty of followers have demanded a sequel ever since. Now, in 2018, now we have that sequel within the type of Johannes Roberts’ The Strangers: Prey at Night time, and whereas the belated sequel is tonally a far cry from its predecessor, it’s nonetheless a terrifying ode to horror that any self-respecting fan of the spookiest style must see.
First issues first, it must be mentioned that The Strangers: Prey at Night time bears virtually no narrative connection to The Strangers. These are positively the identical killers from the primary movie (they even use most of the similar techniques in Prey at Night time), however this film will get audiences into a brand new story from the get-go and requires virtually no background. Set in a distant trailer park in the course of nowhere, Prey at Night time follows a loving-yet-dysfunctional household desperately attempting to remain alive within the face of three mysterious assailants.
That’s it. There actually is not far more to it than that. As soon as the household exhibits up within the trailer park, and we get that first knock on the door, it’s just about off to the races with all the blood, pressure, and thrilling set items that you possibly can presumably need. There are positively quite a lot of low cost and regrettable soar scares within the combine, however in any other case, Prey at Night time principally depends on good, old school thrills that evoke a number of the finest horror films of the final 40 years.
The ability of this method lies within the energy of the performances in addition to the character themselves. As mother and father, Cindy and Mike, Christina Hendricks and Martin Henderson really feel plausible of their makes an attempt to keep up management of the scenario and hold youngsters Luke (Lewis Pullman) and Kinsey (Bailee Madison) protected and safe. That mentioned, when push involves shove, the household in the end chooses to battle again in a method that James (Scott Speedman) and Kristen (Liv Tyler) by no means did within the first movie.
In consequence, The Strangers: Prey at Night time depends extra on adrenaline, as a substitute of the unique’s nihilistic environment; in reality, the closest comparability that I can draw is the tonal distinction between Alien and Aliens. The Strangers nonetheless really feel like credible threats, however the household’s unwillingness to go quietly presents up some nice chases and even higher fights that keep simply throughout the realm of believability (which suggests not everybody will get out alive). On that word, Bailee Madison stands out as a very satisfying member of the ensemble, as she has all the makings of a fantastic scream queen.
In fact, what makes The Strangers: Prey at Night time really stand other than different movies of an analogous ilk is the best way through which Johannes Roberts crafts a feature-length love letter to basic horror films of the 1970s and 1980s. Lots of the movie’s finest set items really feel like remixes and reimagining of basic horror situations from movies like Christine and Halloween (John Carpenter’s DNA is throughout this film, and deliberately so), together with a couple of nice authentic scares that really feel in-line with techniques that The Strangers would use of their hunts.
Nonetheless, it is not simply the set items or homicide strategies that invoke a bygone golden age of slasher cinema. There is a clear try to recreate digital camera motion, cinematography, and mise-en-scene from basic horror movies. From the fog that mysteriously rolls into the trailer park, to the neon glow of the oddly-festive pool space, to the best way that static digital camera pans and zooms in large pictures, The Strangers: Prey at Night time legitimately seems like one thing made through the earlier years of Wes Craven’s filmography (albeit with higher image high quality). The method would possibly learn as a gimmick to some, however for this reviewer, it exhibits simply how a lot consideration goes into the smallest particulars on this film.
This stability of homage and originality forces Johannes Roberts to stroll a tightrope between reverence and rip-off. Such a inventive selection admittedly results in Prey at Night time typically leaning a bit too arduous into its love for earlier movies, however most of the time Roberts manages so as to add his personal layer of authorship to the mission and provides The Strangers: Prey at Night time its personal standpoint.
All issues thought of, The Strangers: Prey at Night time is the primary legitimately nice horror film of 2018. Fashionable, thrilling, and downright scary, the movie’s tendency for homage would possibly make it a bit much less accessible for the informal viewer however die-hard slasher followers will possible discover themselves enthralled by each body. The Strangers are again, and it’s our honest hope that this isn’t the final time that they’ll come knocking at our door questioning if Tamara is dwelling.
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