The Strangers: Prey at Night (Johannes Roberts, 2018, USA/UK)

The Strangers: Prey at Night is the 2018 sequel to Bryan Bertino's 2008 film The Strangers. While Bertino co-wrote this sequel, it was directed by Johannes Roberts. Roberts takes a different approach to the material - though this may be more reflective of changes in the horror movie over the decade, than specific intent on Roberts's part. While The Strangers resurrected 1970s dread for the post-9/11 "torture porn" genre, The Strangers: Prey at Night is far more indebted to 1980s slasher films. By the late 2010s, resurrecting the 1980s had become the norm in American horror films, and Prey at Night is no exception to this.

Rather than focusing on a couple, Prey at Night focuses on a family - parents Mike and Cindy, and children Luke and Kinsey. Kinsey is a problem child who is preparing to be sent off to boarding school. While at the trailer park of their aunt and uncle, the two teenagers discover their aunt and uncle have been brutally murdered. Our three killers from the first film - Dollface, Pin-Up Girl, and the Man in the Mask - are at it again. What proceeds here is much more akin to a standard slasher film, as the strangers hunt down and kill their victims one by one.

The casting is a mixed bag - Bailee Madison as Kinsey is quite weak, while Lewis Pullman as Luke is the shining star here. There are some excellent set pieces, particularly one that takes place in a pool at night. Prey at Night is a passable slasher film, but without much to distinguish it. There are a few Easter eggs here and there for genre fans, but the film is too by the numbers to stay in the memory. Hopefully, future franchise entries realize this and do something better with it.



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