The Strangers: Prey at Night will surely please fans of the original home invasion shocker. It will possibly please fans of director Johannes Roberts more. The same relentless thrills he got out of Mandy Moore and Claire Holt in a shark cage in 47 Meters Down now come with human killers.
Cindy (Christina Hendricks) and Mike (Martin Henderson) take their kids Luke (Lewis Pullman) and Kinsey (Bailee Madison) to visit their aunt and uncle for one last family trip before Kinsey goes off to boarding school (grudgingly). It turns out the trailer park campsite is the latest stalking ground for Dollface (Emma Bellomy), Pin-Up Girl (Lea Enslin) and Man in the Mask (Damian Maffei).
As you can imagine, a trailer is an even more claustrophobic setting than the whole house from the original Strangers. Prey at Night milks everything it can out of those confines, but then the trailer park is a much bigger playground. It’s full of great hiding places for Strangers to appear out of the dark.
Prey at Night also has a neat trick where first the kids and the parents pair off, then the women and the men pair off. Every time someone escapes a Stranger, it’s satisfying, but everyone who falls victim is painful. Often they were this close to getting away.
Roberts won’t let any sigh of relief last for too long. The Strangers won’t stop coming. If there’s even the slightest chance a Stranger could cross the roadblocks their victims throw in their path, they’re going to break through and keep coming after them.
It really captures the relentlessness of the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Halloween, the latter of which Roberts cites as one of several John Carpenter reference.
Christine was his number one reference and you can tell by how the Strangers use cars. Several set pieces involve vehicles. If you think home invasion is rendered moot once someone’s got a car, don’t worry. The car is just another home to invade. There’s no enclosure The Strangers: Prey At Night can’t make terrifyingly vulnerable.
The Stranger actors do great, creepy things with body language. Hendricks and Henderson are believable parents completely ill-equipped to protect their children from real harm. It’s really Madison and Pullman’s survival story though. They are believable kids who think their problems are the end of the world, until they really have to step up to defend their family.
The Strangers: Prey At Night really takes The Strangers to the next level, and serves as a perfect introduction to The Strangers for new horror fans. You can go back and watch The Strangers and be just as happy for their previous relentless onslaughts.