Friday, June 15, 2018

Movie Review: "The Strangers: Prey At Night" (2018)

Director: Johannes Roberts
Year: 2018
Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hour, 25 minutes

A family heads for a weekend at an almost deserted mobile home park run by family members where they are accosted by three strangers who are killing for kicks.
"There are these crazy people and they are trying to kill us." (Image Source)
Like many horror films, "The Strangers: Prey at Night" opens with the claim that it is "based on a true story"........yeah right. It is "based on a true story" in the sense that someone was probably once stabbed in a mobile home park somewhere in America, but that's about it. This film is directed by Johannes Roberts, who has directed such films as "Darkhunters," "The Other Side of the Door," and "47 Meters Down." The movie revolves around a family who has had a recent conflict over the behavioral problems of their daughter. Despite this, the family piles into the car for one last road trip before she goes off to reform school. They head to a family-run mobile home park to spend a weekend together. Once there, a strange woman comes to the door, followed by the inevitable home invasion attack which leaves the family fighting for their lives.
"What are you doing in my house?" (Image Source)
Ten years ago, "The Strangers" was released to rather mediocre critical reception, but it managed to pull in $80+ million at the global box office. With that profit margin, it was only a matter of time before a sequel was made, though we wonder why it took a decade to produce another one. Now that we have seen "The Strangers: Prey at Night," it is pretty damn clear that there couldn't really be any more story expanded on such a thin premise. What we get here is the same basic formula as the original, but now in a new setting. The action and escape are expanded to the entirety of a mobile home park, which apparently nobody lives in during the off-season. Taking the story out of the confines of a house and expanding it to a large property poses other problems. The masked villains of the story go from being average crazies to seeming supernatural beings who have omniscient powers and know where their victims are at all times. Tropey, tropey, tropey, and without any thought.
"Teenagers do stupid shit. I'm a teenager, mom." (Image Source)
"The Strangers: Prey at Night" starts off fine and dandy, following the same beats as the original, so much so that it feels almost like a direct remake, not a sequel. There is a bit of suspense and tension in the first part of the film that makes it enjoyable. That being said, as the movie moves along, it gets increasingly more stupid and more unbelievable. At first, it isn't too bad, but we can pinpoint the exact moment when the movie jumps the shark, and at that point, we felt like telling the victims, "fuck you, you deserve to die." Is this terrible? Yes, but they are just too goddamn stupid. Ain't that a bitch? It feels like this movie goes out of its way to be one walking cliche after another. It also seems as if Roberts ran out of story 40 minutes into it and had to keep finding ways to fill time and drag things out, not for tension or mood, but to make the movie longer any way he could. By the end of it all, we just didn't care anymore. Roberts wasn't done when the film reached its climax. No no, that'd be too easy. To add insult to injury, he dives into the horror trope grab-bag one last time just before the credits roll so he could add a final unnecessary jump scare that doesn't make any sense in the context of the narrative.

We wish we could say we recommend "The Strangers: Prey At Night," but we can't. There are too many cliches to make it worth your while. Most fans of bloody death scenes will be happy no matter what they watch, so why not rent something that's a little more clever than this rehash?

My Rating: 4/10
BigJ's Rating: 3.5/10
IMDB's Rating: ~5.3/10
RT Rating: 39%
Do we recommend this movie: AVOID LIKE THE PLAGUE!!!

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