The Strangers: Prey at Night ★★★★★

THE STRANGERS: PREY AT NIGHT takes the sadistic, remorseless antagonists of Bryan Bertino's bleak, nihilistic shocker and puts them in a film that owes more to John Carpenter and Tobe Hooper -- where they're still pretty remorseless and sadistic, slowly toying with a family (led by Christina Hendricks and Martin Henderson) paying a visit to a trailer park and ratcheting up the mayhem. Their murderous motivations seem as simple as ever; when a rebellious teenager (Bailee Madison) asks why they're doing this, one responds, "Why not?"

Under the helm of Johannes Roberts, who has made his share of good and bad horror films, this one is kind of a miracle as it evokes 1980s slashers with pop tunes -- and turns it into a grisly masterpiece, with a Carpenter-esque score and nods to CHRISTINE and THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE. But it also has good ideas of its own: a bloody battle at a swimming pool set to Bonnie Tyler's "Total Eclipse of the Heart" is one hell of a sequence, as characters fight while the music plays and neon shines bright in the background. We'll be lucky if David Gordon Green's upcoming HALLOWEEN sequel is half as good as this.

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