The Strangers: Prey at Night – Film Review

The first instalment of The Strangers, which was released in 2008, absolutely terrified me, so I was reluctant to see its sequel, The Strangers: Prey at Night, but I didn’t need to worry as it wasn’t as scary as the first and much more entertaining.

The film follows a family of four, comprised of mum Cindy (Christina Hendricks), dad Mike (Martin Henderson), troubled daughter Kinsey (Bailee Madison) and son Luke (Lewis Pullman), who travel to a secluded mobile home park, which is run by their relatives, on their way to drop Kinsey off at boarding school. The trailer park is completely empty – except for three masked psychopaths, who turn their trip into a nightmare.

It is hard to know if this is deliberately sending up horror film tropes or if it just falls into cliche. For example, a killer dragging an axe along the ground before going to attack someone and someone running straight down a road when someone is trying to run them over are basic horror cliches and they made me laugh (particularly the car) – but I can’t tell if this was on purpose.

The original Strangers, which starred Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman, was shocking, scary and stuck with me for days. I have avoided seeing it again because it affected me so much. Prey at Night is obviously not as shocking because we’ve seen it before, but also because it doesn’t feel as serious. While it does produce some decent scares and sense of dread, it has a more light-hearted approach and feels more entertaining and funny in places. Hardcore horror fans may be disappointed by this change, but I think it will appeal to more general audiences because it makes for a fun cinema trip.

The script isn’t anything particularly amazing, but it does try to set up the family dynamics and the different characters before the shit hits the fan. However, Kinsey feels quite stereotypical as the obnoxious/troubled daughter, while the rest of the family mostly react to her behaviour. At the beginning, I didn’t care for the family much or strive for their survival, but two of the characters go through so much, so I was seriously behind them towards the end. I even gave a little cheer when they grew some balls and started fighting back rather than running away.

The Strangers: Prey at Night isn’t a particularly terrifying horror. It does have some scares, jumps and is good at building suspense and tension, but it also feels quite fun, which takes away from its horrifying impact somewhat. As someone who isn’t a horror fan, this is something I’m onboard with. This made me laugh, smile, sing along to cheesy ’80s songs, and get a bit scared, which is pretty good if you ask me.

In cinemas Friday 4th May 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: