You die as a good standalone film, or you live long enough to see yourself become crap.
Bryan Bertino’s “The Strangers” from 2008 is in my humble, hateful opinion, a horror masterpiece.
It was an incredibly pulse-pounding movie, whose deeply disturbing atmosphere was rooted in the unavoidable doom of the married couple. There was suspense in it, there was horror in it. And an unforgettably nasty ending.
The follow-up to the 2008’s flick took 10 years of making. And it seems that it was 10 unnecessary years of waiting (if anybody did care to wait).
First of all, the horror genre has moved on since 2008 quite a bit – “Get Out” has even received several Oscar nominations. This means that everybody was doing pretty fine without seeing the creepy, masked family back on the big screen. We loved them in Bertino’s twisted thriller, but they seemed to be a one-hit wonder.
Regardless, a sequel found its way to finally see the light of day.
The beginning is promising. A tiny girl wearing an infamous white mask – the Pin Up Girl – kills an elderly woman in cold blood. Electronic music buzzes in the background and things seem to be on the right track. Then, we get to know the family. A grey duo of parents, a rebellious teenager and a son, who likes to play baseball. It’s generic, but still capable of defending itself.
What happens next is just unacceptably lackluster.
The more of the film passes by, the less we care. “The Strangers: Prey At Night” is a slasher, which simply fails to engage the viewer. Roberts spends too much time delving into the problems of the family, that is eventually going to be slaughtered anyway (isn’t that always the premise in such movies?). The conflicts between them, supposedly giving reasons to root for the characters, only delays the inevitable massacre. But instead of unease, there’s acres of boredom.
What about the killer trio you probably ask.
Well, they’re obviously there. Dragging axes on the floor, stabbing and creeping around as they did previously. However, it all feels so predictable that even the most heavy scenes play out boring. Great scene concepts – like a sweetly picturesque shot in the swimming pool – is torn into pieces by lousy directing.
As a result, when they should scare the hell out of the audience, the deadly mask-wearers are as lifeless on the screen as their prey.
“The Strangers: Prey At Night” should serve as a sad monument of “another failed sequel”. It’s not only far from its predecessor, but it also constitutes a measly example of modern horror.
The Strangers: Prey At Night (2018)
Dir. Johannes Roberts
Cast: Dollface, Pin-Up Girl, Man In Mask
Hate Grade: 7.5/10