THE STRANGERS: PREY AT NIGHT serves as a loose sequel to the 2008 horror schlock THE STRANGERS that was written by Bryan Bertie who also co-wrote this sequel with Ben Ketai.
A family – mother, father, estranged daughter and her brother spend a night at a mobile campground owned by their uncle only to find him murdered and cut up. ‘The strangers’ make the family their next target who hold up in one cabin. The strangers wear various masks and dispatch their victims with weapons like knives and axes. The killers are Dollface (Emma Bellomy), Pin-Up Girl (Lea Enslin) and the man in the mask (Damian Maffei).
It takes 30 minutes before the first victim is discovered, in this case, the uncle. (Alfred Hitchcock took a full hour to reveal the first victim in THE BIRDS). Director Roberts spends the time investing in the family issues. Parents Cindy (Christina Hendricks) and Mike (Martin Henderson) love each other, but have problems with the youngest daughter, Kinsey (Bailee Madison) who they are sending to boarding school. The son, Luke (Lewis Pullman) is the model child, playing baseball while obeying what mummy and daddy ask. When daughter storms out at one point, brother is sent after her to calm her down. They discover the body while the parents go in search for them after a weird visitor asking for Tamara show up twice.
At this point, horror fans will likely ask themselves that with this super slim storyline, what tactics will be used to pass the time. The answer is a variety of them like: the family playing silly games; false alarms like a dog that appears out of nowhere and scare them and never show up again in the campground or in any part of the movie; useless dialogue and lots of walking around. (The family spends a lot of time running from the predators.)
The next question horror fans will ask is which of the 4 of the family will be dispatched first or is the script going to keep them alive. The answer comes right after the 30 minute mark when poor mother gets a knife right in the back. At least this solves the enmity between mother and daughter that was pre-eminent during the first 30 minutes. Father gets it next, pretty badly while in the car leaving the younger siblings to care for themselves. “Leave us alone.” is the line that is screamed out to the strangers and repeated a number of times in the film.
Several obvious question come up – the most important of which is the reason the strangers are on a killing spree. Daughter gets to spring this magic question to one of her stalkers right before dispatching off with her. And her answer: “Why not?”
Same reason millions of moviegoers are paying good bucks to see low-budget slasher flicks like this one: Why not?
Roberts is a British director specializing in cheap horror flicks, his first being SANITARIUM, a 5000 quid production released around the world. THE STRANGERS shows a little promise but nothing really something to scream about.