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American films

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

PUBLISHED : Monday, 16 April, 2018, 2:04pm
UPDATED : Monday, 16 April, 2018, 2:04pm

2.5/5 stars

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.

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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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