The Strangers: Prey at Night (2018) – HCF Review

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As seems to be the trend these days, this sequel to the home invasion horror is one mullet away from being an 80’s movie. It follows the likes of The Guest and, er, It Follows, in terms of style and influences, although this one is all about the power ballads as opposed to the awesome synth we were treated to in those films. And much like them, were it not for the use of modern technology, you would be forgiven for thinking it was set in the 80’s. And despite it becoming more and more overused in the genre these days, It’s yet to outstay its welcome. The plot set up is quite standard for the sub-genre, where a typical american slasher family stop over in a backwater trailer park midway through a road trip. Unfortunately for them, this particular trailer park has been chosen by a strange murderous trio to act out a deranged game of cat and mouse.

The leads do a great job of being frightened teens without being annoying cliches, and keep the film running at a breathtaking pace. After the mildly slow build up, once it’s revealed that the hapless family are in peril, it’s one thing after another thrown at them. If you can think of a classic slasher movie, chances are you’ll feel a bit of it in here. From Halloween to the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, the film unashamedly bares its influences and it’s a great time as a result. Whereas in most cases it would feel derivative, it feels quite unique in its approach as well.

While it may not be in quite the same league as the previously mentioned films, it certainly comes close. The direction and suspense is brilliantly executed, with every single frame looking meticulously planned out. The way the camera makes it look like the killers just appear out of nowhere is so creepy, and the lighting is just fantastic. There’s one particular scene that encapsulates all of this, backed by a belting Bonnie Tyler song over what’s a pretty cold, tense and brutal scene. The film’s got plenty of jump scares, and one of the creepiest aspects is that there appears to be no motive. The killers just seem to be doing what they’re doing just for the fun of it. Prey at Night is a sequel that pretty much comes out of nowhere, shares little with its predecessor yet is a great time nethertheless. A must watch for slash fans.

Rating: ★★★★☆

 

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