- The Strangers: Prey at Night review by RD
Maybe it's me, but just how pathetic can you be?
The victims' main source of defence against the knife-weilding maniacs is to shout "Stop doing this to us!". Because that's bound to work.
Other than that, it seems they just bypass opportunities to fight back, instead simply letting the stabbings commence.
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A patchy thriller let down by atrocious writing
- The Strangers: Prey at Night review by BG
'The Strangers' was a better-than-average stalk & slash thriller with heavy doses of home-invasion and psychological torture thrown in. Here, the original director (Bryan Bertino) steps back into a co-writing role (with Ben Ketai) and passes the reins to '47-Metres Down' director Johannes Roberts. Roberts directs nicely and shows some flair for angles and framing, but sadly he's once again working with sub-par scripting. Bertino and Ketai's script starts promisingly; a family is traveling cross-country to pack their rebellious daughter off to boarding school , and stops off en-route to see their Uncle and Aunt. Uncle Marv lives in a holiday Trailer park which mostly empties out in September, leaving it pretty isolated.
It's a good set-up. And that's pretty much where the script throws in the towel.
Bertino and Ketai make a good effort with some character work between the rebellious daughter and her brother that is better than expected, but the dialogue for most of the movie consists of people yelling "Leave us alone!!!" as if it's some new form of self-defence technique, and there isn't a single line here you haven't heard a hundred times before. The film ditches the building of suspense pretty fast, opting for a great many scenes of people running, jump-scares that make no sense if given 5 seconds of thought, and our family in peril ignoring almost every available weapon, and almost every possible opportunity to use one, in favour of running and screaming.
The behaviour is so staggeringly idiotic that it regularly yanks you completely out of the film in annoyance. Obvious trap after obvious trap is wandered into, even once the characters should know WAY better, and at least 3 times the film is only able to continue because characters who have the upper hand decide to run away or fail to use the lethal weapons readily available to them, making you almost want to cheer on the bad guys, if only to bring a little Darwinism to events.
This is the kind of movie where people running away from a slow-moving vehicle choose to run down the centre of the road, instead of dodging around obstacles. The kind of film where it doesn't matter that the floor of a trailer is three feet off the ground if the writers need it to be at ground level in one scene, and then 3 feet up in the next...yes, it really is that dense.
It's a shame, because there are moments where you see what the film could have been; there's a fun and very nicely shot scene in a pool area lit by gaudy fake palm trees that almost embraces proper thrills. There's a nice scene of menace where one character wordlessly chooses to freak out a trapped victim for a minute or two - but instead of going for genuine terror and unnerving the audience, it's squandered almost instantly and the end to the scene feels cheap and throwaway.
Almost every trope and cliche you can think of gets trotted out, and frankly it's a disservice to the tension and nuance of the first movie.
If you're looking for a cheap disposable slasher, to watch with friends, this will do fine. You won't need to make any effort to stay quiet for the atmosphere or to focus on the plot, because frankly a lack of attention to detail might actually make it better.
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