Daily Archives: November 5, 2018

The Strangers: Prey at Night (2018)

*. Yes, I know what you’re thinking. If I thought the first movie was garbage, why bother with this one?
*. For my excuse I’ll fall back on what I said in my notes on The Man with the Iron Fists 2, which I really shouldn’t have bothered with after The Man with the Iron Fists. With a new director (Johannes Roberts) and a livelier script, anything might have been possible here. There was no where to go but up. Right?
*. Actually there are three directions they might have gone: up, down, or on the same level. I think they went with the third, though I might rate it marginally higher than The Strangers. I didn’t think this was a worse film than The Strangers so much as it was just more of the same.
*. Once again with the motiveless malignity of the three generic killers: Man in the Mask, Dollface, and Pinup. As a comment on just how generic they are I’ve never been sure which mask was Dollface and which Pinup. At the end of the first movie when they’re asked why they’re doing all this the one girl replies that it was only because the couple were home. Here she says “Why not?” Ho-hum. I get it. They’re psychopaths. But this still strikes me as a script fail.
*. Once again with the victims acting like morons. When the son actually gets to place a 911 call he doesn’t know his location? It’s just “some trailer park”? I realize he’s in shock, but he didn’t know where he was? Where his aunt and uncle live?
*. Once again with the victims screaming “Leave us alone!” and “Go away!” With those out of the way I was waiting for “Why are you doing this?” and I was not disappointed.
*. Once again with the girl being hobbled (something that really turned me off in the first film). Here she gets stabbed in the leg. Alas, the damage is compounded here by adding the cliché of having her limping away from a vehicle that’s running her down and having her trying to escape by running right down the middle of the road. I told you these people were morons, right?
*. Once again with the lack of suspense and dull kills. Basically this is a slasher film rather than a home invasion flick but there’s nothing special done with any of the violence and gore. In fact, most of it just strikes me as depressing. The murder of the father in particular only got me down.
*. OK, so what’s different this time out? Instead of a young couple being terrorized we have a whole family that has to overcome its dysfunction in the face of a clear and present danger.
*. The main difference though is a very welcome one, which is that (spoiler alert) the three killers all receive their comeuppance. The reason I say this is welcome is that it means there shouldn’t be any sequels. Given the disappointing box office a sequel was probably unlikely anyway, but perhaps a prequel is in the books, wherein we may even find out who Tamara is or was. Not that I really care.
*. I say that there “shouldn’t” be any sequels, but given the indestructibility of the Man in the Mask I suppose anything is possible (with an alternate ending suggesting Jason-level powers of reincarnation). But again, box office will decide.
*. Aside from the killers being killed, which was so surprising in such a movie as this I’d even count it as a plot twist, there’s little to recommend here. There’s a good fight that takes place in a swimming pool to Bonnie Tyler, suggesting that Roberts wasn’t taking this shit seriously. Or maybe the Man in the Mask just has a thing for classic ’80s pop-rock. There’s also a strange repetition of characters being caught in vehicle headlights that I wasn’t sure was deliberate or just forgetful. I suspect the latter as there are glaring continuity errors throughout.
*. It was panned by critics and audiences. The only place I’d part ways with their opinion is that most of them seemed to consider it a steep falling off from the first movie and I actually thought it was a bit better. But it’s still not very good.