The Strangers: Prey at Night ★★★★

The unholy trio have finally returned after a decade's absence!

Thankfully, this film was not simply a rehash or more of the same. While the first film put the focus on tension and suffering, the sequel shifts the focus to chills and thrills. I found this to be a brilliant and modern way to approach this long awaited sequel.

Johannes Robert's nuanced directing brings a chilling John Carpenter-esque vibe to the proceedings. The meticulously chosen 80s soundtrack somehow seems to make the events even eerier than they would be had they been accompanied by a more traditional horror score. Also, can we please just agree that Total Eclipse of the Heart is off limits going forward? Honestly, I don't think a film could ever make better use of it. (Full disclosure: I am listening to it on full blast while writing this review.)

The one area this film falls short in comparison to its predecessor is the setup. In the original, there was a sense of tension and a genuine uncomfortableness from moment the film began thanks to the main characters' strained relationship. There was some conflict inserted here as well, but the family drama felt forced and manufactured. That being said, the connections and love between this family unit were well established enough to the point that each subsequent loss was more devastating than the last.

Despite its introductory act, I'm happy to say that Dollface, Pin-up Girl, and Man in the Mask are still some of the most terrifying slashers to ever grace the horror landscape.

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