The Strangers: Prey at Night ★★★½

An extremely pleasurable viewing experience, in its way, if only because it demonstrates how thoroughly Johannes Roberts understands the slasher film. Characterization is used only insofar as it plays with our expectations of how characters will respond when faced with the prospect of death. Camera tricks (playing with off-screen space, depth of field, zooms, etc…) are cycled in one after another to provide most of the scares, which makes this truly one for fans of the genre (or simply fans of directors that know how to direct). The masked nihilist killers – the one thing carried over from this film’s predecessor – are probably the weakest element here, but they serve a functional purpose, I suppose. One scene, set to Air Supply’s “Making Love Out of Nothing at All,” will almost certainly be one of my favorites when I look back at the year in cinema. It expertly milks the combination of sadism and hopefulness that twist within every horror film viewer.

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