“Strangers: prey at night” Can sequels do it better?

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picture of the titular strangers the antagonist of this movie. Photo curtsey of creative commons

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Bailee Madison one of the main characters in this move. Photo curtesy of creative commons

 

 

 

 

 

Staff writer: Jeiaghieahkeh Ewing

(Spoilers inbound) The film “Strangers: Prey at night” is the sequel to the cult classic The Strangers. This film takes place some ten years after the events of the first movie. While this movie is a sequel its ties to the previous film are few and far apart.  Even though the director has changed the cast of the three strangers, the characters themselves stayed the same. Following in the footsteps of the previous film the movie starts with its usual “based on true events” opening.  The three masked killers—Doll face, Pin Up Girl, and the Man in the Mask have all made a comeback in a much more violent way. Seeing that the events of the first movie was their first killing ten years later their way of working has changed. The first film in this series had the strangers playing with their victims before picking them off one by one, with the events of the first film taking place in one setting, the victims house.  

This film picks up at a trailer park the titular strangers did keep their slight roots though with them toying with and then killing the unnamed opening two characters, but in a much more violent and expressive way. By having doll face kill a woman off screen before going to lie down next to the now recently deceased woman’s husband. The movie then moves ahead a few days when a new family arrives at the trailer park. Mike and Cindy, their son Luke, and their daughter Kinsey, decided to take a visit to their aunt and uncles trailer park as a way of bringing the family closer. When they arrived the aunt and uncle are nowhere to be found but the keys to their trailer have been left, and as it’s an off season for the park they are they’re only occupants there, or so they think. As they settle into the new trailer a knock is heard at the door, with Cindy opening the door reveling a very familiar scene to the first film with doll face at the door having unscrewed the outside lightbulb as to hide her face asking only, “Is Tamara is home?”. It’s after this initial meeting that like the previous movie things go only downhill from here. 

After leaving the family visibly spooked by that encounter but not feeling any danger, and after Krissy decides to leave with her brother, the two kids decide to head out and explore the open trailer park. They stumble across a trailer with the door wide open stepping inside to find their aunt and uncles beheaded bodies under a sheet, showing us the audience that the couple from the beginning of the movie are their aunt and uncle. While this is going on doll face arrives to the trailer again knocking and asking once more, “is Tamara here?”. With the parents sensing danger after doll face walks away into the woods they head out to find their kids running into them as leave the trailer of the dead aunt and uncle. Mike then sends Cindy and Krissy back to their trailer before heading out with Luke to get help. But at the trailer doll face was waiting haven broken all the phones and attacking Cindy and Krissy. After helping her daughter escape through a window Cindy is stabbed to death buy doll face. While exploring mike and Luke find out that the killers have been waiting on them after hearing a message left for the aunt and uncle by the family letting them know they were coming down. After being spooked by man in mask mike and Luke try to get help by driving off in a van, before having the window shattered by one of the strangers and the car crashing, after waking up and seeing he can’t move mike gives Luke a pistol he found and tells him to go find his sister, as Luke leaves man in mask arrives proceeds to turn on the radio finds a fitting song then murders mike with an ice pick. Krissy still running after escaping doll face is attacked and stabbed by pin up girl who has been generally unseen until this point of the movie. After being rescued by Luke he hides her under a poach before going to go get help, he Is then attacked by pin up girl and after a quick struggle he stabs her to death. Having killed on of the stranger’s man in mask arrives to Luke taunting him about taking out one of his “friends” asking him, “how does it feel?!”. After that obvious bright idea on Luke’s part man in mask attacks him with an axe both stumbling into a pool before man in mask finally gets a hold of Luke stabbing him in the back multiple tiles and leaving him in the pool to drown. But arriving like a guardian angel and rescuing Luke. Its then Krissy’s turn to leave and look for help and the sheriff arrives at last only to be killed by doll face. After seeing the sheriff murdered and fighting blood loss from the stab wound Krissy retrieves the shotgun from the sheriff’s car before shooting doll face killing another one of the strangers! And with that man in mask arrives once more to have a final showdown with Krissy, but if you want to see how it ends go watch the movie!!  

This movie was by far one of the best modern horror movies out right now, with heart pounding suspense, true terror and a great director. Even though being labeled as a sequel to the cult classic “The Strangers” this film seems to be its own movie, with little to no connections to the first movie except a few throw away lines here and then and the technically same three characters. The tone of this film even feels different as the first one has more suspense in such a close quarter space with the house, this film takes that mood and tone and translates it to a vast open space while making the audience and characters feel that there is no escape.  

Overall ratings for this film were bad but this film is one of those you have to see for yourself.

“There’s no real terror or dread in it, just the same old meat-puppet gore and cattle-prod scares served up with a kind of ritualized self-satisfaction.”- variety

“Despite such flashes of originality, the whole thing has the air of a cynical, low-quality knockoff of something that wasn’t very good to begin with.”- Washington post

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