The Strangers: Prey at Night Movie Review
The original Strangers was intense, terrifying and all too real. Its long-delayed sequel is... none of those things.
There’s nothing inherently terrible about The Strangers: Prey at Night—it has a couple of moderately good horror sequences and, well, yep—but there’s nothing inherently interesting about it either. Director Johannes Roberts (47 Meters Down) delivers what can best be described as a run-of-the-mill slasher film, its only hook being the creepy villains that someone else made creepy a decade early.
And even the villains feel run-of-the-mill this time.
The original isn’t as good as nostalgia might suggest, but it was undeniably scary as writer/director Bryan Bertino trapped his two victims in a house and subjected them to a night of terror, in which the attackers poked, prodded and frightened before unleashing their full fury. The film was claustrophobic and relied heavily on sound to make audiences shrink to the floor.
Sequels don’t have to be nor should be exactly like their predecessors, but, especially in horror, they should at least try to tap into what made the original work so well. Roberts makes the mistake of thinking The Strangers: Prey at Night simply needed the same masked killers again.
The movie, no longer restrained by a single house as a setting, doesn’t feel isolating enough. While that alone does not make the movie bad, such a change in setting automatically makes the movie feel like a thousand other slasher films that have come before it. The attackers now seem much less interested in terrorizing than they do killing, which again makes them no different than plenty of other horror baddies over the years. Unlike the original, which pulsed like a bleeding vein with suspense and anticipation, The Strangers: Prey at Night never indicates it is mounting toward anything.
The movie looks fine, the acting is decent, and scene-by-scene it largely works, but as a whole The Strangers: Prey at Night is an utterly unoriginal and forgettable horror thriller that fails to live up to even the memory of the original.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.