Film: The Strangers: Prey At Night Starring: Bailee Madison, Lewis Pullman Christina Hendricks, Martin Henderson,
Damien Maffei (Man in the mask), Emma Bellomy (Doll-face), Leah Enslin (Pinup Girl) Director: Johannes Roberts Review: Anthony Holden Rating: 3.5X's out of 5X “Well, that was interesting...and strange.” Part of the reason I loved the original 2008 “Strangers” was for its minimalist, tense atmosphere. The same goes for “Prey at Night” except this time around, there’s a throwback twist. An estranged family of two exasperated parents, a rebellious high school daughter and a disillusioned young adult son head to a deserted rural trailer park for some bland bonding time. Little do they know, they’re about to be met with three bag-and-mask wearing killers with no motivation behind their doings except to just kill and move on to the next family. You know the story. You know the deal. However, the thing that separates “Prey at Night” from other bland, repetitive slasher films is in its homage direction.
The film’s charm comes not from its plot, characters or its killers but from its visual shoutouts to classic horror films of the 70’s and 80’s (Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Friday the 13th, Straw Dogs) and its killer musical numbers. Director Johannes Roberts takes would-be straight-to-DVD material and elevates it to something avant-garde like. Indeed, there is a fight-to-the-death sequence in a neon-lit pool with Bonnie Tyler’s “Eclipse of the Heart” blaring from the pool’s speakers. It’s set in the present but has an 70s/80s Soul. It’s violent, it’s tense, it’s ridiculous and it’s strangely entertaining. An imperfect, artsy B-horror movie for the weekend.