The Strangers: Prey at Night ★★★

Scavenger Hunt 38/Film 9/A film with 5 or more words in the title

I loved THE STRANGERS, it was one of my highlights of 2008. For several years after I hoped for a sequel, I kept hearing the rumours but then nothing ever surfaced. Over time I accepted there would not be another entry and while THE STRANGERS stayed a fond memory, it never entered my mind again as a must have sequel. Ten years later a sequel arrives…..

I was of course extremely intrigued, question started going through my mind. Where were they taking these characters, what would they be doing, would it be a rehash of the first film and could it possibly have the same impact. I soon learned it would be an entirely different cast and crew including the director/writer Bryan Bertino and the original actors who play the titular villains. British director Johannes Roberts was taking the challenge and after 47 METERS DOWN being a fun film, this seems a good move. It’s not easy taking characters from a singular film over a decade old and make them relevant again.

The film focuses on a family who are on their way to drop their daughter off at boarding school but are staying at a trailer park en route. The trailer park is deserted but they find where they need to stay and it’s not long before we get the dreaded knock at the door and the wispy vocal of Dollface asking ‘Is Tamara home’. From this point on the action hots up and actually reminded me a lot of the 2003 remake of THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE. Dollface, Man in the mask and Pin-Up all return and are ready to cause as much violence and suffering to the family as possible. Rather than just setting the film in one cabin or another house, the film strays away from that and focuses on the entire trailer park which includes a very swish pool that is home to the best sequence in the entire movie. This sequence is worth watching alone, it includes the son from the family and the man in the mask and it’s combination of underwater and above water is excellent. Some brilliant camera work. While I am on a high talking of brilliance, I can’t not mention the soundtrack. I love the eighties and I get an eighties soundtrack. It’s a bit random and not really explained why we get an entirely eighties soundtrack but it works a treat, particularly in the aforementioned pool scene.

Christina Hendricks leads the names in the cast but son and daughter team of Lewis Pullman (offspring of Bill no less) and Bailee Madison are the acting attractions here. They have sibling charisma and put in convincing performances.

I have to go back to my earlier questions I asked myself though, in particular would it have the same impact. In short, no, but that’s not to say it should be avoided. It’s not essential horror but I actually think this film could be a bit of a sleeper hit that betters with age, it has many aspects of what horror fans like and maybe in a slasher marathon you could slip this in and the audience would really get something from it. It is a quick, exciting film that does provide a couple of shocks. My main disappointment is that for me, it’s not on the same level as the first film. That first film is a superb noughties horror and while I enjoyed this film, it did not stand up to my love of the first. I have watched the first film many a time and perhaps a few more watches of this entry could push it higher up and I actually think it may. The Strangers themselves are interesting characters and I am intrigued to see if we will see them again, I just hope we don’t have to wait another ten years.

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