The Strangers: Prey at Night is the 2018 sequel to the original The Strangers movie released in 2008. This time out, the trio of masked killers sets their targets on a family of four in an isolated trailer park. What ensues is a long night of terror and bloody murder, because “why not?” The Strangers: Prey at Night takes everything that was good about the original movie and throws it out. This time out, the movie has everyone doing the absolute dumbest things possible in order to get themselves killed and the killers are elevated to be essentially a supernatural presence at times before they’re eventually dumbed down as well.
Multiple times during this movie I found myself asking “why would anyone do that?” Where do I even begin? The family travels to a remote trailer park owned by their aunt and uncle who we see brutally murdered in the opening scenes of the movie. The strangers remain after killing the couple as they hear a voicemail letting them know that they’ll have new victims arriving. So the family shows up and doesn’t find uncle or aunt anywhere, just a note saying to take your room and they’ll see them the next day. At dinner someone makes a comment that upsets the teenage daughter, who promptly leaves the trailer to go off alone into the night to sulk, mom and dad send her older brother to go and retrieve her. The two kids end up discovering their aunt and uncles corpses and rush back to their parents to let them know what happened. Instead of calling the police right there, the father, asking “is this some sort of joke?” has the son lead him to the bodies to verify. I guess this is a family that likes to joke about finding the murdered corpses of their family members often?
With mom and daughter alone back at the trailer one of the masked killers sets after them armed with a knife. There’s one moment where shes standing in the kitchen facing both of them and the two women stand there and stare at her, like hit her with a chair or something. The killer chases the two women who lock themselves in the bathroom where the mother helps her daughter escape through the hatch in the ceiling to her safety. While the daughter is safe on the roof reaching down for her mother the killer is breaking through the door. Mom makes no attempt to try and climb out with her daughter. The killer gets through the door and enters the bathroom, embracing the mom in a hug from the back before she stabs and kills her. Mom never even turned to face the killer for some reason, she essentially accepted death as soon as her daughter got out, does she not have survival instincts?
The dad and son after verifying that it wasn’t a prank head back to the trailer and find mom dead and daughter missing. What do they do now? Obviously hop in the car and drive around the area really fast yelling the daughters name out of the window. They crash and dad is pinned in the wreckage while son escapes with a loaded gun to find his sister. The sister is being chased by the male killer through a woods area where she hides from him among a series of large cement tubes. In the tube shes in, one out of a lot of other tubes, another of the masked killers jumps out from the dark to scare her. Was this killer hiding in that tube all night waiting for that moment? Did they plan to guide her to that exact tube for that scare? I imagine the killers were using walkies and great effort to coordinate this and I find it hilarious.
Sister escapes and runs into brother as they’re chased by a killer. Brother remembers that he has a loaded gun on him and aims it at the killer, the same one that killed his mom mind you, before turning and running away for some reason. They end up abandoning it later of course, and he ends up separated from his sister. While running the sister ends up on a road where a cop happens to arrive to help her. They’re in the middle of the road and there’s really no cover for anyone to sneak up on them, yet the cop ends up getting killed as hes speaking to the girl because I guess the killer was invisible when she walked right up behind him. Why are cops always useless in horror movies? After this the roles essentially switch and the killers become as dumb as possible for some reason.
Sister grabs the shotgun from the cops car and runs off into the woods pursued by the killer. The killer chasing armed with a knife while the girl still has the shotgun. At some point the daughter realizes this and shoots her pursuer mid mass before finishing her off with another shot. She was already dying but sure, waste your last bullet. Back with the brother, hes being pursued though a store when he grabs a golf club to defend himself. Eventually hes confronted by another killer armed with just a knife again, and they have a stare off before he realizes he has the upper hand. He manages to kill this stranger as well before hes attacked and injured by the last remaining stranger who leaves him for dead.
This is where things get really ridiculous. The sister heads back to the police car in an attempt to escape when the remaining killer rams into her with his indestructible truck. He rams her several times, rendering the officers SUV useless except his last ram left him stuck to the SUV unable to move. The daughter notices that his truck is leaking gas heavily and throws her lighter into it causing the truck to explode. She hobbles away, seemingly safe before, surprise the killer survived his truck exploding! No really, he survived. Not only did he survive, the truck is still fully operational whilst on fire. The killer pursues her before cornering her and attempting to finish her off with his ax instead of just running her over. He keels over and its revealed that he was impaled by a shard of glass. The explosion was just a minor annoyance, its the glass that did him in. The daughter is rescued by a passing family but the movie has one last jump scare as the badly scarred stranger makes one last attempt at her life before he collapses dead in the street.
The Strangers: Prey at Night was dumb. It takes a believable premise like the first film and trashes it. The killers went from being unsettling and spooky to hokey caricatures of themselves. The acting was average but the bad writing drags everything down. The protagonists aren’t likable, they have no development, they aren’t even memorable. This film really isn’t worth watching unless you intend to laugh at the absurd moments in it. The soundtrack was good though.