The Strangers: Prey at Night

Strangers 7-5-17-6620.dngI’ve avoided slasher flicks ever since I was 12 and the idea of Friday the 13th (which I’d never seen but had the plot recited to me on a canoe trip the previous summer) made me run in terror anytime I was alone in the woods at night. Since then, I’ve seen very, very few straight-up slashers (Halloween being a rare exception and a standout) because, honestly, they’re almost always really stupid. The Strangers: Prey at Night is a very good example of “really stupid”, and that is about the nicest thing I can say about it.

Since I really don’t care for this type of movie, I may be dead wrong, but I have always thought the appeal of these films can be distilled down to three basic elements:

  1. Clever kill sequences;
  2. The filmmaker toying with the audience’s expectations, delivering a humourous jolt when we think a scare is coming, or vice versa; and
  3. Seeing idiots get what is coming to them, namely being murdered in some kind of clever kill sequence.

Combine those elements with a memorable mass murderer and you’ve got a franchise on your hands!

The Strangers: Prey at Night has none of those things. Sure, the killers wear weird masks, but doesn’t almost every murderer? Otherwise, these killers just walk around menacingly, more out of obligation than for any particular purpose, and don’t have any discernable motivation, backstory, or personality traits. The only memorable thing is that the killers have a penchant for 80s music. Like, will search the radio presets until they find some, even if there is a potential victim right there for the murdering, so they are pretty big fans.

And there are no clever or humourous sequences, just monotony. The people who die get stabbed. Also, the people who live get stabbed. None of the encounters consists of anything more than that, save for the 80s synth-pop blaring consistently while the fights take place. Worst of all, we are forced to sit through about 25 minutes of family “drama” before the killing even really begins.

So who, exactly, is this movie for? You will have to tell me because it is not for me or for anyone I know.  I also don’t think it would have worried little 12-year-old me in the least, which is the biggest strike of all since back then I was terrified by the very idea of the phantom zone from Superman 2.  Basically, if you are looking for a mix of synth-pop and grisly violence, skip this film and stick with the holy trinity: Halloween, Drive, and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City.

 

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19 thoughts on “The Strangers: Prey at Night

  1. J.

    Oooft. I actually thought the first flick was pretty good… 10 years to make a sequel that doesn’t do too much, though? That’s a poor show.

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    1. Sean Post author

      Going in I had no idea it was a sequel but if I had known I would definitely have judged it harshly for that long delay. I can’t imagine anyone will think this was worth the 10 year wait!

      Liked by 1 person

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  2. bookbeachbunny

    I have to admit when I sit through one of these (which isn’t often) number three on your list does become the best part 🙂 I only ever saw exactly one scene from the Friday the 13th movies and it scared me so I’m with you on that one!

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  3. Courtney Small

    While I did enjoy the first film, more for the concept rather than the kills, it sounds like this is yet another example of a studio trying to squeeze every last dollar out of horror fans. Guess I will have to skip this one.

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  4. allthingsthriller

    Love the review, if not the movie. The “so they must be pretty big fans (of 80s music)” musing is really funny. Haven’t seen this one; don’t intend to. I can count on my fingers how many slashers I’ve liked–and that’s on one hand. The original Halloween is one of them. The original Texas Chainsaw Massacre is another. The cinematography in the latter is great.

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    1. Sean Post author

      I haven’t seen the original Chainsaw Massacre (or the new one (/ones?) for that matter. I could be talked into the original but I haven’t sought it out.

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  5. Christopher

    I’ve gone from being a kid who was easily scared and hated horror films to an adult who enjoys horror films but I’m finicky about them. I want a well-told and preferably believable story because nothing kills horror like implausibility. Although there are exceptions, such as horror films where the story doesn’t hold up but the direction is interesting, or that take such ludicrous turns it’s obvious they’re meant to be darkly funny and not really scary.
    All of which is a roundabout way of saying I hated the first Strangers. Thank you for sharing that this one is the same thing with a different cast.

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  6. Widdershins

    Completely off-topic … I just glanced across at your twitter feed and there was that photo of Taylor and Sarah … I’ll see your ‘sigh’ and raise you an EMEGHERD and fainting vapours! 😀

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  7. Brittani

    I love horror movies but I never bothered with the original (Though I did see the French version) and I won’t bother with this either. I can’t imagine why this justified a sequel.

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  8. MovieManJackson

    Found it average, maybe too much of a stab at the 80’s. The direction was good but there’s no real reason to have 80’s hits in this as it takes place in the present day lol.

    The first Strangers is superb though.

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