The Strangers: Prey At Night
the strangers: prey at night | the strangers | johannes roberts | ben ketai | christina hendricks | bailee madison | emma bellomy | sequel | united states | slasher | martin henderson | damian maffei | lewis pullman | lea enslin
Film: The Strangers: Prey at Night
Director: Johannes Roberts
Writer: Ben Ketai
Starring: Christina Hendricks, Bailee Madison and Emma Bellomy
This film begins informing us that this is based on a true story. We see a truck pull up to a trailer playing some older music. We then shift to the bedroom inside the house. There is a knock at the door that wakes up the woman. She goes to check the door and we see someone in the shadows behind her. They make a noise and she turns to them. This woman is Emma Bellomy who is wearing a Dollface mask. We then cut back to the bedroom where Dollface lays down next to the man who is still asleep.
We then shift to a married couple. They are packing up their vehicle. The wife is Christina Hendricks and the husband is Martin Henderson. Hendricks goes inside to find her daughter is upset. She is Bailee Madison. We learn soon after that she is being sent off to boarding school for things she has been doing and she is quite upset. She comes down and her stuff is packed up. They have to go get their son, Lewis Pullman, who is playing baseball with his friends. He is upset he has to come along and not being left alone for the weekend.
They are running late and Madison is making sure they know she is not happy about this. She won’t eat at the diner they stop at. Hendricks comes out and talks to her, trying to get her to see why they are sending her to this school.
The family arrives at the place they are staying. Hendricks collects a key from the office where she finds a note from the uncle that is allowing them to stay there. They find the trailer they will be occupying and go inside. Henderson finds it weird there is old Chinese in the refrigerator. The parents want the kids to play cards with them, but Madison storms off. Hendricks then asks Pullman to go after her, which he does.
There is a knock at the trailer door and they open it to find Bellomy. It is dark so they can’t see her face. She asks if Tamara is there and they tell her she has the wrong house. She then runs off.
Pullman catches up with Madison and talks to her. He seems to make her feel a little bit better. The two of them go past a trailer with the door open and go inside. They end up finding their aunt and uncle, both dead. They flee the house.
There is another knock at the trailer door and Bellomy is back. She asks the same question and the parents find it odd. They then go seek out their children. They find them as they are running away. It is decided that Hendricks will take Madison back to their trailer while Henderson and Pullman will go check out the one with the dead people.
At the trailer, they see a man with an ax. He is Damian Maffei, but they can’t see his face. They warn him to leave and Henderson knows that there is a gun inside. He finds and loads it. Back at their trailer, Hendricks and Madison are stalked by Dollface. There is also another member of the group, Lea Enslin who wears a Pin-Up Girl mask.
Can this family survive and get away from these crazy people? Or will they become victims to their depravity?
Now I will lead off stating that I really liked the first film. It did a lot of things that unnerved me. This film does do some of them, but it also had some interesting changes to make this one much different. One thing I will say that this film isn’t really a sequel, but more of just a film that brought back the three killers for a new film. I love their masks, I love that they don’t say a whole lot and that they always seem to appear. This film does well in making the killers appear in the background where the protagonists can’t seem them. This is something that is one of my biggest fears and I’m glad they brought some of that back. Now I will say though, there are some really bad decisions made by a lot of the characters throughout the film. This goes for the heroes and the killers. That disappointed me, especially with how smart the killers were in the original film. I did like that they changed this film from a suspenseful home invasion film and into a wide-open slasher film. I wasn’t the biggest fan at the ending when it really started out so well. The very last sequence though I did enjoy and have my thoughts on it.
I will say that the acting for this film wasn’t bad outside of the poor decisions that were made. Hendricks was solid as the mother. She plays the role pretty well. Madison is definitely good as the whiny teenager that is being punished for what she has done. What I will say though, there is some awkwardness between Pullman and her. They are supposed to be siblings, but it comes off as flirting. With that said, Pullman is good as the tougher older brother who has to make the decision to kill those around him to protect his family. Henderson was a little bit obliviously as the father, but it wasn’t bad. The three killers are pretty good, but I do have to say that Maffei comes off as so creepy. He just physically is scary looking and never seems to stop.
The effects of the film were good as well. From what I could tell they all seem to be practical so I had no issues there. It definitely looked real, the blood was solid looking and there was enough of it in my opinion. The editing of the film was really good. The film does build the necessary tension until the climax and even to the ending. They do some pretty cool things with the composition of the shot, using the fore and backgrounds to their fullest. The ending I wasn’t a biggest fan though. The score was great. There was a good blend of 80’s music that gives the scenes a creepy vibe as well as songs that help to build the tension when needed as well.
Now with that said this film is good because they took a solid film in my opinion, borrowed what they needed from it and made a much different film. I liked this one being a more wide-open slasher where the killers have to stalk their victims. There are some very questionable decisions that were made, from both sides. I didn’t care for how the film ended, but I did like the very end sequence and what it played on. The acting was pretty solid across the board. The effects looked realistic and seemed to be practical as well. The editing of the film was good in my opinion as well as the composition of the shots. The score I was a big fan of as well, it definitely fit the film and added a dimension to it. I do think that if you liked the original, you might not be the biggest fan of this one. I personally like they both for being different. With that said, I felt this film was good and deserves a viewing.
My Rating: 8 out of 10