The Strangers: Prey at Night film review – old-school horror sequel is entertaining yet utterly predictable
With a soundtrack of 1980s pop music, Robert’s film has few surprises and seems like a tribute to that era’s slasher films, with three killers in masks knocking off members of disfunctional family in a deserted theme park
It’s difficult to tell if The Strangers: Prey at Night is a tongue-in-cheek homage to the slasher “video nasties” of the 1980s, or just badly made.
Whatever the case, the retro storyline and old-school style do entertain, even if the script is so by-the-book it’s easy to tell what disasters are looming around the corner. Although it’s too corny to be scary, horror fans will enjoy its strict adherence to genre conventions; others will find it a bit of a laugh.
Films of this ilk date back to the “thrill killer” drive-in movies of the early ’60s, in which nasty people commit horrible murders for the fun of it. Here a dysfunctional suburban family spend the night in a deserted trailer park, only to be picked of by a trio of masked nasties.
One killer wears a Scream-like mask, another covers his head with a sack and wields an axe. There’s a lot of irrational behaviour and senseless running around as the family try to escape the predatory lunatics.
Although it begins lamely, the action does ramp up subsequently, and the ending, in which fledgling scream queen Bailee Madison is relentlessly pursued by the axe-wielding maniac, gets quite gripping as it moves into Halloween territory.
Nominally a sequel to 2008’s The Strangers, which was directed by the new instalment’s co-writer Bryan Bertino, the story’s conclusion is left open-ended for part three.
But the weirdest thing about the film is a soundtrack which features 1980s megahits Kids in America and Total Eclipse of the Heart. Lord knows what Kim Wilde and Bonnie Tyler will make of it all.
The Strangers: Prey at Night opens on April 19
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