STRANGERS: PREY AT NIGHT, THE
(director: Johannes Roberts; screenwriters: Ben Ketai/Bryan Betino; cinematographer: Ryan Samul; editor: Martin Brinkler; music: Adrian Johnston; cast: Christina Hendricks (Cindy), Martin Henderson (Mike), Bailee Madison (Kinsey), Leah Roberts (Young Mother), Lewis Pullman (Luke), Emma Bellomy (Dollface), Damian Maffei (Man in the Mask), Lea Eslin (Pin-Up Girl), Preston Sadleir (State Trooper), Gabriel A. Byrne (Young Son), Mary Louise Casanta (Aunt Sheryl), Ken Strunk (Uncle Marv); Runtime: 85; MPAA Rating: R; producers: James Harris, Wayne Marc Godfrey, Mark Lane, Robert Jones, Ryan Kavanaugh; Aviron Pictures; 2018)
“Filled with absurd dialogue, undeveloped dumb characters and unrelenting violence.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Inspired by the 2008 surprise box-office hit of the nihilistic The Strangers, a film I hated and was poorly received by most critics, this uncompromising sequel cuts deeper as a slasher pic to either uplift the “home invasion” horror subgenre or downgrade it, depending on how you view the film. Johannes Roberts (“The Other Side of the Door”/”47 Meters Down”) competently directs and the illogical story is written by Ben Ketai and Bryan Betino (wrote and directed the original). The caring parents, Cindy (Christina Hendricks) and Mike (Martin Henderson), send their resentful wayward teen daughter Kinsey (Bailee Madison) to a boarding school. The older jock-brother, someone viewed as “perfect”, Luke (Lewis Pullman, son of Bill), remains home but drives with his parents to deliver Kinsey to the new school. Before reaching the school, they spend the night at a deserted mobile home park run by their relatives, Aunt Sheryl (Mary Louise Casanta) and Uncle Marv (Ken Strunk). Late at night they are visited by a weird young woman, who rambles on making no sense as she keeps knocking on their door and asking the same question that was just answered. The children are wandering around the grounds in the foggy night and discover two corpses in a nearby open trailer, and become under attack from a swarm of strangers wearing a China-doll or a smiley mask and possessing big knives (Dollface-Emma Bellomy, Pin-Up Girl-Lea Eslin and The Man in the Mask-Damian Maffei). They do not seem to be human and their vics are randomly chosen (these are the same slashers from the original film). The children attempt to fight them off, but the strangers have super-powers. Filled with absurd dialogue, undeveloped dumb characters and unrelenting violence, the splatter film creates no horror chills that greatly affected me. The demented film may prevail for some as a welcome attempt to get back to the glory days of the 80s gruesome-type of horror pics. If that’s what you’re looking for, it certainly delivers the splatter.
REVIEWED ON 2/1/2019 GRADE: C+ https://dennisschwartzreviews.com/