The Strangers: Prey at Night (2018)

directed by johannes roberts
rogue pictures/bloom/white comet films/the fyzz facility

As this oddly delayed sequel began – a decade after the first installment – I confess, I really, really wanted to bag on it; the onset is not promising and it appeared as though it would be a cliché-ridden parade of stock characters and situations. Credit where it’s due, however – this film delivers exactly what it’s supposed to deliver, and it does it well. Not overly saddled with any particular panache, and devoid of much in the way of creativity beyond the overall “Strangers” framework, it’s still adept at ratcheting up the tension and producing effectively understated frights. Wisely, the palette is opened up a bit from the original, as the characters are not confined to one specific place, and although some of what could be termed “character development” verges on slasher-film shtick, it remains essentially rooted in realism. It IS a bit meta, however, occasionally evoking the line productions of the post-Scream era, and perhaps a bit predictable when it morphs into a revenge picture for a while. All told, a few groans don’t detract much. No classic, but it will entertain you well enough.

why did i watch this movie?

I enjoyed the first one, as well as Them (Ils), the French film that prefigured it, so what the hell, I reckoned.

should you watch this movie?

It’s more or less a traditional slasher-type picture, so it depends on your tastes.

highlight and low point

The moment when one of the teenagers confronts one of the Strangers who is Preying at Night and asks the “WHY are you DOING this” question amused me no end, and other related moments were also pretty good. The family that is Preyed upon at Night by the Strangers is actively annoying much of the time, and I did not particularly enjoy the screenwriting relating to said family.

rating from outer space: C+

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