The Strangers: Prey at Night Review

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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.

SPOILERS

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.

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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.

 

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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.

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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.

3/10

-Andre

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The Strangers Review

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The Strangers is a 2008 horror/thriller about a young couple returning late from a wedding reception to an isolated vacation home.  What follows is a violent home invasion carried out by three masked assailants as they violently harass and torment the couple.

The Strangers is a movie that draws heavily on establishing a dreadful tone and feeling of impending doom for the protagonist.  Everything about the attack was seemingly calculated by the strangers to maximize their advantage against their prey.  The home that the couple was staying in was isolated, far from anyone that would hear the commotion and attempt to help or call the police.  Their attack happened at four in the morning when anyone that could be of help is most likely asleep.  There’s no one out driving, no one walking their dog, no one is around to help.  This setting amps up the intensity of scenes where the strangers are stalking their victims.  For example, there is one scene where the female protagonist is in the kitchen having a drink after a particularly stressful evening.  Behind her and out of focus we can see one of the strangers silently watching her from across the room.  This goes on for roughly twenty seconds, tension building as you wonder what’s going to happen before she looks in his direction and sees nothing.

Although I loved the tone set by the movie, some of the actions of the couple left me irritated, particularly those of the male protagonist.  The entire ordeal starts when the couple answers a knock at the door at four in the morning.  Shortly after the strange interaction with the unseen woman the guy decides to leave the woman in the house alone while he runs out somewhere.  While he’s gone the strangers begin to torment the woman until he suddenly returns.  The woman lets him know what happened and for some reason he doesn’t believe her.  This makes no sense because it’s really not a claim that I think anyone would find unbelievable, moreover, why would she lie about such a thing?  Another complaint that I had was that after the couple is on the same page and realizes that they’re under siege, not once do they go through the house to make sure doors and windows are locked.  They lock the front door and that’s it, but it’s clearly shown that the strangers are using other means to enter and exit the house at will.  In another instance of bad decisions, the couple finds a shotgun and plenty of ammunition for it.  Great right?  No, after making a smart decision to hunker down in one room with their backs to the wall and the gun pointed at the door, the male accidentally shoots and kills a friend who happened to stop by to check on the couple.  For some reason he came by early in the morning before the sun was even up, but that’s beside the point.  After killing his friend the guy charges outside into the night with the gun, leaving the woman alone once again, to confront the strangers.  In a hilarious and head shaking turn of events he’s immediately disarmed and rendered unconscious, losing their best defense  against the invaders.  Overall I can’t decide if these characters just aren’t that smart, or whether them being deprived of sleep is the reason for the bad decisions.

Overall The Strangers is a decent movie.  I love the use of the setting and the minimalist approach that drives the somber, creepy tone of the film.  This movie did a lot with a small budget.  I wasn’t a fan of the way the plot was driven by some particularly foolish decisions by the couple, it felt cheap at times, although that can possibly be explained if you factor in their lack of sleep during the ordeal.  This film is entertaining and worth a watch.

6/10

-Andre

 

The Thing (1982)

 

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Spoilers

In 1982 at the remote US Outpost 31 in Antarctica, twelve men stationed at the base are suddenly accosted by two men in a helicopter from a nearby Norwegian base.  The two Norwegian men attempt to shoot a dog as they chase it over the frozen valley towards the American camp.  In the ensuing confusion, the two men are killed, leaving the American team puzzled and in need of answers.  They fly to the Norwegian base and discover a massacre, everyone’s either dead or missing, the base is on fire, and they find the remains of a strange creature burned outside.  What follows is a tale of gripping paranoia and cosmic horror that’s sure to entertain.

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They don’t make horror like this anymore.  For starters the tone, its dark and hopeless.  These men are trapped, there is no help coming for them no matter how much they radio for it.  Outside they’ve got temperatures hitting in excess of fifty below.  While inside they have primal fear driven by a creature they can barely comprehend.  A creature that hides within the bodies of their friends, men they’ve known for years.  This causes intense paranoia and mistrust, making the men as much of a danger to each other as the thing is to them.  The thing knows this, and uses this to its advantage as it tries to keep suspicion off of itself, pushing the humans to suspect each other instead.Garry_assures_the_men_of_his_innocence_-_The_Thing_(1982)

This dark and hopeless tone is amplified by the use of music.  From the beginning of the opening scene you’re hit with this powerful haunting score with a thumping bass note that sounds almost like a human heartbeat, perhaps foreshadowing whats to come.  There isn’t a lot of music used in the movie, but when it is used it helps to enhance the tension present.

One of my favorite things about his movie is the practical effects used.  There’s nothing CGI, everything was built ranging from puppetry to stop motion.  The creature designs are amazing.  Take the Norris-Thing for instance, this guy was assimilated by the thing and has a heart attack.  One of the doctors in the group attempts to revive him using a defibrillator.  The thing, unfamiliar with the concept of a defibrillator perceives the shock as an attack and fights back, by opening up Norris’s chest revealing a large mouth that rips off the doctors arms.  This is just one of many amazing designs used by the production to create this story. Vlcsnap-2011-12-30-07h27m52s226

The characterization is another standout for this movie.  Whereas with horror movies of the modern era, you wind up with cheap jump scares, writing that makes no sense, or characters that make stupid decisions just to move the plot.  With The Thing there’s really one jump scare, in the aforementioned part about Norris and his chest mouth.  The characters are pretty smart in this.  They try hard to do everything they can to survive the situation they’re placed in.  There’s only one instance where you could claim that  someone did something dumb and that’s when this guy runs off into the night after someone that he suspects is the thing.  This goes completely against character for this individual as earlier on he was in a position where he had multiple armed men with him yet he refused to confront what he suspected was the thing behind a closed door, wanting to let it freeze to death instead.  The sudden change in character or “stupidity” can be explained by the common fan speculation that the guy didn’t care about running off alone because he was actually the thing by that point.

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The Thing is a timeless movie that only gets better with age.  It is a film that was panned by critics during its initial release, but in the years following has gained the respect that it deserves.  I consider this movie to be the greatest horror movie of all time.  It has everything I want in a horror movie, from the great monster, the effects, the characters and the setting.

10/10

-Andre

Creep 2 Review

Creep-2 posterCreep 2 is the sequel to the sleeper hit CreepCreep 2 picks up the story of the “Peachfuzz killer,” as he takes out another ad for a videographer.  Sara, an up and coming video artist answers his ad and upon their initial meeting he confesses to her that he’s a serial killer.  Sara doesn’t believe him but decides to stay and film him anyway, hoping it’ll be interesting enough to bring attention to her art.  By the end of their day together she laments answering that ad when she realizes she’s made a big mistake.

Spoiler Warning

Creep 2 is similar to the first film in tone, but it doesn’t really have the same slow burn as the first. In this movie we learn more about Peachfuzz, from his past and his motivations for what he does.  Yet he still manages to keep the same mysterious persona even as he reveals details about himself that may or may not be true.  From the start of the film, Peachfuzz is going through a sort of midlife crisis, hes killed thirty-nine people so far and after his 39th kill he feels unfulfilled and believes that he needs to do something spectacular for his 40th kill.  This causes him to have internal conflicts that bubble to the surface of his usually hard to read behavior when interacting with Sara.  Contrary to the first movie where he was disarmingly friendly, he’s erratic and sets off multiple red flags causing Sara to arm herself for protection.

Unlike with his previous friendship with Aaron, Peachfuzz bonds more with Sara as she displays some of the same eccentric behavior that he does.  Tactics that he’d used to toy with Aaron, and most likely victims before him were fairly ineffective on Sara.  Everything he’d do to try and throw her off or cause her unease, she’d respond in kind.  This lead to an interesting dynamic as its still obvious that Sara doesn’t believe him about being a serial killer, but we can see that Peachfuzz is achieving some sort of calm as the day goes on.  This ultimately leads to him deciding that his 40th kill will be himself, as he attempts various suicide attempts, culminating in Sara deciding she’d had enough.  As with Aaron in the first film, Peachfuzz manages to expertly manipulate her back to him and letting her guard down.  Peachfuzz attempts yet another suicide attempt, this one causing Sara to realize he’s been telling her the truth about who he is this entire time.  Following this final attempt, Sara is wounded but manages to escape.

Creep 2 follows its predecessors formula and improves on it.  Although the plot remains roughly the same, he characters are still intriguing and engaging.  I like the development they’ve given to Peachfuzz, he went from being this quirky, mysterious weirdo, to a more complex villain with internal struggles that still leave you questioning his actions.  Is he genuinely trying to find someone to be his companion or is this just how he gets close to his victims?  Overall I enjoyed this movie and can’t wait for the third title in the series.

8/10

-Andre

Top New Artist of 2017

Here are Billboards year end charts:

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  1. Lil Uzi Vert

 

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2. Khalid

 

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3. Niall Horan

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4. Kodak Black

 

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5. 21 Savage

 

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6. James Arthur

 

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7. Cardi B

 

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8. XXXTentacion

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9. Harry Styles

 

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10. Brett Young

Check out our catalog at http://fountaindale.org or give us a call at 630-759-2102 and see what albums of these artist albums are available or place a hold.

-DR

Black History Month Display

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February 1st is the start of Black History Month.  Black History Month celebrates the people, history, culture and influence of African-American citizens in the U.S.  African-Americans contribute to our nation and economy in many ways, from our government and military, to small business, industry, arts, music, food and education. The Fountaindale Public Library is proud to present this month’s lobby tree display in dedication to Black History Month with a plethora of books to choose from as well as a smattering of DVDs and CDs that take a look at all aspects of this unique and wonderful culture.

Here is a sampling of some of the titles that await you:

  1. Black America: A Photographic Journey by Marcia A. Smith
  2. Creating Black Americans by Nell Irvin Painter
  3. Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans by Kadir Nelson
  4. Legacy: Treasures of Black History by John Hope Franklin
  5. Living Black History by Manning Marable

 

…And, it’s all conveniently located for you on the 1st Floor, right when you first walk in!

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So, come on in and celebrate the history, people, culture, and contributions of African-Americans and Black History.

 

-Brian

First Ever Music Festival at U.S. Cellular Field!

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According to the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority (ISFA), the owners of U.S. Cellular Field have been looking to broaden the use of the stadium beyond baseball games.

The Chicago-native, Chance the Rapper, will be hosting his Chicago tour date for his Magnificent Coloring Tour at U.S. Cellular Field on September 24th and will be calling it the “Magnificent Coloring Day.”

The “Magnificent Coloring Day” will be the “first ever music festival at U.S. Cellular Field on Chicago’s South Side.” The one day music festival will feature artists Skrillex, John Legend, Alicia Keys (who I’ve been dying to see), Lil Wayne, Tyler the Creator, 2 Chainz, Young Thug, Lil Uzi Vert, along with special guests.

ISFA Executive Director, Lou Bertuca, says this will be the first of many events outside of baseball to be held at the Cell. “There’s no reason that the stadium shouldn’t be doing one major sporting event outside of baseball,” Bertuca said.

There have only been two previous concerts at the Cell- Bruce Springsteen and the Rolling Stones in the early 2000’s.

Bertuca said ISFA has been working for the past year with Madison House Productions to secure a performer. When the option of Chance the Rapper came to the table, he jumped at the opportunity.

“Chance is the perfect fit because he’s from the South Side of Chicago, he’s really proud of being from Chicago and gives a lot back,” Bertuca said. “To catch Chance the Rapper on his meteoric rise to the top is just a great opportunity.”

With it being my birthday weekend, I will DEFINITELY be in attendance. I can’t wait to see what other events will be held at my second home, the Cell.

-CP-