Complete A-Z list

The Strangers: Prey at Night


Stars: Christina Hendricks, Martin Henderson, Bailee Madison, Lewis Pullman, Emma Bellomy, Damian Maffei, Lea Enslin

Director: Johannes Roberts

Another week, another shocker.

Which is hardly surprising since horror movies are the longest surviving cinema genre, having been brought back from apparent death rather more often than even Frankenstein's Creature.

So here we go again with a follow-up to director Bryan Bertino's far better 2008 shocker The Strangers.

This sequel (which sucks in a manner that Dracula might well envy) was first announced in 2009, and finally made it to the screen but left me cold. Indeed the most entertaining aspect of the show were the knowing laughs from fellow reviewers determined to prove that they knew and understood the (rather too few) moments of expected terror, surprises and spouting blood.

To give director Johannes Roberts his due, he tries hard to serve up some reasonable scares and shocks but, stuck with a screenplay (Bertino and Ben Ketai) that's stuffed with more cliches and all too-frequently used horror movie tropes than an overweight Thanksgiving turkey, he only very rarely succeeds in creating much really worth remembering.

Roberts was more fortunate than he deserves with his cast, headed by Hendricks and Henderson as the cliched parents of teen jock son Pullman (son of actor Bill) and mobile phone-addicted teenage daughter Madison, who is sulky to the extreme at the prospect of being sent to boarding school and moans to all and sundry (unfortunately including the audience) about her fate.

Having established characters with all the depth of Hallmark Cards, they're sent off on a road trip, where, arriving at the trailer park run by Uncle Gavin, they find it strangely deserted and discover Uncle G murdered and mangled.

Cue a collection of familiar shocks and bloody mayhem when the luckless travellers are attacked by crazy, homicidal, mask-wearing weirdos Dollface, Pin-Up Girl and Man in the Mask (The Axeman Cometh?) and then sliced and diced as expected.Despite some suitably nasty slicing and dicing and useful wide screen cinematography, Bertino never really establishes the geography of his deserted camp which tends to dilute the tension (such as there is).

Basically you've seen it all before - and better done. Strictly for horrorfllck completists - if they can be bothered.

Alan Frank

USA 2018. UK Distributor: Vertigo. Colour.
85 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 1, Swearing 2.

Review date: 20 May 2018