“The Strangers: Prey At Night” worth seeing
It won't win any awards and it won't be remembered as a classic in the years to come, but horror fans starved for a suspenseful, blood-soaked thriller that's proud of its “R” rating should find “The Strangers: Prey At Night” a worthy viewing.
A much belated sort-of sequel (or is a reboot/remake/re-imagining/whatever they call it these days?) to 2008's “The Strangers,” the home-invasion thriller with Liv Tyler and three killers wearing very creepy masks, this new installment finds creative ways to bring back the sense of creeping dread that so skillfully dominated the first film.
Be warned, though, that this film takes its sloooow time before getting to the scares. Too much of the film's first half is devoted to getting to know the protagonists before it kicks in. But once the formalities are out of the way, the film becomes a lean, mean killing and scare machine.
What I liked the most about the film is that it follows the original's best asset – that we have no idea who the killers are, or why they're doing what they do. There's no talky explainin' about their motives or reasons, which – in my opinion – makes the villains all the more creepy.
The main characters are likeable, the effects are realistic, the villains are particularly unnerving and monstrous, and the setting – an isolated and dimly lit trailer park – is original and effective.
Is it great? Well, no. Is it at least as good or better than the original (which I liked a lot)? Not quite, because I feel that the startling effect of the creepy masks worn by the baddies has lost its luster a little bit after the first film.
But give credit where it's due. It TRIES to be scary and it's not ashamed to be what it is – an effective, fast-moving thrill ride that flips a middle finger to the politically correct, safe PG-13 tripe aimed at teens and that tries and fails to pass off as horror these days.
It's this simple: If you liked the first one, you'll like this one. It doesn't re-invent the wheel, but that's okay. And it would make a great double-feature with the first one if you decide to wait until it comes out on DVD.
Just remember: If you're waiting to watch this at home on DVD, make sure you lock your damn doors first.