The Strangers: Prey at Night, the story of a group of killers inspired by the Manson family, are back to slaughter a while new batch of innocent victims. So, sharpen those blades and let’s see if this movie makes the cut.
10 years ago, the movie The Strangers was released and with it came a level or terror we really hadn't seen before. Usually, when there’s some movie killer going around hacking folks to pieces there’s always some kind of motive, insanity, revenge, hatred, or childhood trauma … there’s just generally a reason why “the killer” is stabbing someone whether we fully understand why or not.
In The Strangers, the killers do what they do “Because you were home.” as they told Kristen (Liv Tyler) in the original movie, just before they repeatedly stab her and her boyfriend, James (Scott Speedman), before leaving them in their home to die.
Now, with the release of The Strangers: Prey at Night, our trio of killers; The Man in the Mask, Dollface, & Pinup Girl are back to terrorize a whole new bunch of folks. Our hapless victims this go around happen to be family of four with the parents Cindy (Christina Hendricks) and Mike (Martin Henderson) who are taking a family trip to get help for their troubled teen daughter, Kinsey (Bailee Madison), and finally we have the big brother who doesn’t even want to be on the trip, Luke (Lewis Pullman). Instead of a single home, the killers have an entire deserted trailer park to work with.
As a slasher flick, the movie is ok. They do what they’re supposed to: stab people to death. The problem is it takes so long to get to the stabbing of anyone. There was one point I was wondering if I was watching a horror movie or a drama about a family taking a cross-country trip as a mother and daughter try to mend the hurt between them, a father who is so out of touch he doesn’t even realize his marriage is jeopardy, and the jock son who is so into sports only because he wants to distance himself from his family. To be honest all this story building didn’t bring me closer to the family at all, mainly because I generally don’t feel much for a bunch of people I know are about to get filleted.
Luckily, by the time you can’t stand the lifetime movie you were tricked into watching there’s a knock at the door and a blonde woman (Dollface) whose face is hidden in shadow is asking for Tamara. Shortly after this, the killing begins and the movie goes up a notch but not by much. I get that in these types of movies some characters will do silly things that will end up getting them killed, but these folks were doing some downright stupid shit.
If I have the means to end someone who I know just killed other members of my family and is actively trying to kill me I am not going to try to reason with them I’m going to kill them. The sequel just lacks the same feeling of terror they had in the first movie. For most of the movie I just cheered on the killers, “That’s what ya get for being stupid, a knife in your back!”
The only shining star in all of this was Bailee Madison, an actress I really haven’t heard much about since I saw her in the 2011 Adam Sandler comedy ‘Just Go With It’ when she was 12 years old. However, even her performance in this is not enough to save this film from itself. Even the ending of the movie had me annoyed and there were multiple people, myself included, saying “That’s it??” I’m just gonna go ahead and stick a fork, or knife, in this one … it’s done.