The Strangers: Prey at Night
|The Strangers: Prey at Night|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Johannes Roberts|
by Bryan Bertino
|Music by||Adrian Johnston|
|Edited by||Martin Brinkler|
|Distributed by||Aviron Pictures|
|Box office||$30 million|
The Strangers: Prey at Night is a 2018 American slasher film directed by Johannes Roberts and starring Christina Hendricks, Martin Henderson, Bailee Madison and Lewis Pullman. A sequel to the 2008 film The Strangers, it is written by Bryan Bertino (who wrote and directed the first film) and Ben Ketai. The film follows a family's vacation to a secluded mobile home park, where they are attacked by three masked psychopaths.
The film was released in the United States on March 9, 2018, and grossed $30 million worldwide. It received mixed reviews, with some critics considering it more entertaining than the original and appreciating its satire of horror films, while others noted it as inferior and called it cliché.
In a secluded trailer park in Covington, Kentucky, the three masked strangers — Dollface, Pin-Up, and the Man in Mask — arrive in a truck at night to a couple's new trailer. Dollface wakes a sleeping female occupant, knocking at the front door. Dollface instantly kills her and then lies down in bed next to the woman's sleeping husband in a creepy manner.
Meanwhile, Mike and his wife Cindy take a family trip with their children, Luke and Kinsey, to their aunt and uncle's trailer park to spend time together before Kinsey leaves for boarding school. After arriving, they meet an unmasked Dollface at the front door. She asks for Tamara, but is turned away by Cindy. Kinsey and Luke stumble upon a trailer with the door open. Inside, they find their aunt and uncle brutally murdered.
Back at the family trailer, Dollface visits a second time and is yet again turned away. Troubled by the encounter, Mike and Cindy find the kids, who are in hysterics. Mike follows Luke to find the bodies. Cindy and Kinsey return to the trailer to find their cell phones destroyed and a masked Dollface inside. Cindy helps Kinsey escape the house before being stabbed to death by Dollface. Mike and Luke find the bodies and find the voicemail that Cindy left for their uncle earlier, realizing that the killers had heard the message and were waiting for them to arrive. After arriving back at the family trailer, they find Kinsey missing and Cindy dead. After a devastating moment, they drive their minivan around, shouting for Kinsey, but the Man in Mask violently throws a brick at the van, causing Mike to swerve into a trailer.
Finding himself pinned to his seat with a long piece of wood impaled to his abdomen, Mike tells Luke to find his sister. After Luke hesitates to leave, the Man in Mask kills Mike with an ice pick. Kinsey is attacked twice and stabbed by Dollface before being rescued by Luke. Luke hides her under a porch and goes to the general store to use the phone but is attacked by Pin-Up. He overpowers her and stabs her to death. An angry Man in Mask stabs Luke in the back and leaves him to die in the pool. Kinsey finds Luke and pulls him out before setting off to find help. A sheriff finds Kinsey but is promptly killed with a slit to the throat by Dollface. Kinsey uses the sheriff's shotgun to shoot Dollface; she unmasks her, and as Dollface bleeds to death, Kinsey asks, "Why are you doing this?" Dollface replies, "Why not?" Kinsey then finishes her off with a shot to the head.
The Man in Mask arrives in his truck and attacks Kinsey. She uses her lighter to ignite a gasoline leak and both vehicles explode, seemingly killing him. The Man in Mask survives the explosion and pursues her in his truck, now engulfed in flames. He exits the truck, burned up, to attack her but falls to the ground, pulling out a piece of glass out of his abdomen and falls seemingly dead. Kinsey flags down a mother and son in a truck, but they attempt to flee when they see the Man in Mask appear. Kinsey manages to climb into the bed of the truck, along with the Man in Mask, swinging his ax at her. Kinsey knocks him off of the truck by hitting him hard in the head with a baseball bat. The Man in Mask is last seen lying in the road, seemingly dead. Some time later at a hospital, Luke is in a bed, recovering from the stab wound. Kinsey awakens from a sudden nightmare. As she gets up, filling a cup of water to refresh, she hears a strange noise along with a familiar knocking at the door and drops the cup in shock.
- Christina Hendricks as Cindy
- Martin Henderson as Mike
- Bailee Madison as Kinsey
- Lewis Pullman as Luke
- Damian Maffei as Man in the Mask
- Emma Bellomy as Dollface
- Lea Enslin as Pin-Up Girl
- Mary Louise Casanta as Aunt Sheryl
- Ken Strunk as Uncle Marv
- Rachel Kuhn as Waitress
- Leah Roberts as Young Mother
- Preston Sadleir as Officer Brooks
- Gabriel A. Byrne as Young Son
Rogue Pictures' producers announced that a sequel to The Strangers was in development in August 2008, tentatively titled The Strangers: Part II. In a 2009 listing published by Bloody Disgusting, it was reported that the script would be written by Bryan Bertino and the film directed by Laurent Briet. In 2010, the horror website Shock Till You Drop reported that Relativity Media put The Strangers: Part II on hold because they decided the film might not be in their interest, despite the fact that Universal Pictures was willing to distribute it. However, Rogue Pictures confirmed in January 2011 that the sequel was again in production, and was then scheduled to begin filming as early as April 2011; in a press release, Rogue revealed the plot would concern "a family of four who have been evicted from their home due to the economy, and are paid a visit by the same three strangers from the first film."
According to Liv Tyler, star of the original film, Part II was slated for release in 2014, but that did not occur. In 2015, The Wrap reported that the sequel was in production, and that Relativity Media and GK Films had scheduled the film for a December 2, 2016, release date, though it was later removed from the schedule.
Roberts said that while he was in Los Angeles, the producers of 47 Meters Down met him for dinner and asked if he could read a script called Prey At Night. He liked the script and wondered if he wanted to get involved in a sequel despite having released the first film years before but finally accepted and decided to add his personal touch.
In February 2017, it was announced that Johannes Roberts would be the sequel's new director, and that filming would commence during the summer of the same year. In May 2017, Christina Hendricks, Bailee Madison, and Lewis Pullman were reported as the film's stars, and production began in Los Angeles on May 30. In June 2017, it was announced Martin Henderson had also joined the cast, along with other cast members.
Filming began in June 2017 in Covington, Kentucky and lower Cincinnati which concluded on July 10, 2017. Bailee Madison's boyfriend Alex Lange has visited the set of the movie while the events of filming. There was once an event called "The Strangers: Prey at Night Experience", in which people visited. Bailee Madison did almost all of her stunts and had some minor injuries including, a broken toe along with some bruises while filming. On set, the cast explained how horrifying the set was to film there at night, saying it was just as creepy as it was in the movie.
On October 12, 2017, Collider reported the film would be released on March 9, 2018, by Aviron Pictures. A teaser trailer for the film was released on November 16, 2017. The official trailer debuted on January 5, 2018.
In the United States and Canada, The Strangers: Prey at Night was released alongside The Hurricane Heist, Gringo and A Wrinkle in Time, and was projected to gross around $7 million from 2,464 theaters in its opening weekend. It made $4 million on its first day, including $610,000 from Thursday night previews. It went on to debut to $10.4 million, finishing third at the box office behind Black Panther and A Wrinkle in Time.
On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 37% based on 97 reviews, and an average rating of 4.9/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "The Strangers: Prey at Night may appeal to fans of the original who've been jonesing for a sequel, but its thin story and ironic embrace of genre tropes add up to a bloody step back." On Metacritic, which assigns normalized rating to reviews, the film has a weighted average score of 48 out of 100, based on 25 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "C" on an A+ to F scale, down from the "B–" given to the first film.
Bloody Disgusting gave the film a positive review, saying, "The Strangers: Prey At Night really takes The Strangers to the next level, and serves as a perfect introduction to The Strangers for new horror fans. You can go back and watch The Strangers and be just as happy for their previous relentless onslaughts”. IGN also praised the film, writing that "Skillfully made, spooky, stylish, and featuring some quite good character work, The Strangers: Prey at Night stands much taller than the 2008 original. The central killers are plenty scary, and some of the images on display would make John Carpenter proud." Writing for /Film, Candice Frederick gave the film a 7/10, writing that "Though its characters may fumble and its winks to the first film may not be as slick as I’d like them to be, Prey at Night does maintain the original commitment of presenting horror to the most mundane. It doesn’t just disrupt an innocent setting of a quiet suburb...It is that relentless seclusion, heightened by a haunting soundtrack of otherwise harmless songs."
Brian Douglas from The Hollywood Reporter praised the tone of the film, writing, "While the original Strangers was devoid of any sense of the 80s, instead opting for a kind of timeless modern quality, Roberts’ sequel boasts its stylistic debts, with everything from camera shots, and music choices culled from the 80s, forming an impressionistic collage of a time period that feels made for the big-screen." Staci Wilson writing for Dread Central also praised the film, writing “Aside from the quick setup introducing the targets, The Strangers: Prey at Night really is a nonstop thrill ride. I know it’s a cliché, but sometimes you’ve just got to call it as you see it. I was breathless from start to finish. Kudos to Roberts on his best movie yet! He was wise to amp up the atmosphere with a kick-ass original score and flawless cinematography."
Glenn Kenny of The New York Times gave the film a mixed review and compared sequences of the film to Lucio Fulci's Zombi and the slasher film The Mutilator, adding: "If you recognize those films, you might find yourself mildly diverted by this tawdry, occasionally effective shock-delivery device. Watching it with a demonstrative crowd in a Times Square theater proved to this former grindhouse devotee that sometimes you can go home again, at least momentarily. That said, the movie’s ludicrously drawn-out finale sapped the good will out of some of my fellow audience members." Kimber Myers of the Los Angeles Times also gave the film a mixed review and wrote that “...although the film is as slim and poorly balanced as a cheap knife, The Strangers: Prey at Night is a stylish 1980s throwback that packs plenty of terror into its short running time. This isn't a horror movie that will take up residence in your nightmares for weeks, but the sequel to the solid 2008 original The Strangers is nonetheless just as effective in the short term as its well-made counterparts”. Owen Gleiberman, writing for Variety, described the film as "Friday the 13th with four victims and three Jasons... [it's] shameless in its bluntly misanthropic family-of-lambs-to-the-slaughter violence, its blithe depravity that’s more fetishized than felt. It doesn’t take much, though — as it didn’t in the ’80s — to create a one-weekend horror hit."
The Guardian's Benjamin Lee gave the film more of a negative review, rating the film 2/5 stars despite praising Hendricks' performance, noting: "...it’s just difficult to really invest in what happens to any of them. Before long, characters are all making stock horror movie decisions, and there’s no amount of effective craftsmanship that can sell stupidity. Audience members will be too busy sighing at the screen to be scared."
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