Horror movies without sequels are like dogs without fleas. And why not? Of all the popular genres in cinema, scary movies are among the easiest and cheapest to produce and have a ready-made, built-in audience. Hence, even though 2008’s ‘The Strangers’ (starring Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman) wasn’t a particularly good movie according to most metrics, it was only a matter of time (in this case about 10 years) before we see the inevitable follow-up.
‘The Strangers: Prey at Night’ follows a family of four including two teenagers forced to stay overnight at a trailer park on their way to a boarding school, at which the youngest rebellious daughter is involuntarily enrolled. Over the course of the night, they are terrorized and victimized by three masked homicidal maniacs, two females and one male, nicknamed “Dollface,” ‘Pin-Up Girl” and the axe-wielding “The Man in the (Burlap Sack) Mask” according to the cartoony masks they wore. As in the original movie, or any other slasher movies from the ‘80s worth their salt, these sadistic psychopaths require neither rhyme nor reason to do what they do despite their innocent victims’ tendency to vainly ask them the ridiculous question: “Why are you doing this???!!!” And one of them actually answered it with another question. “Why not?” she replied, before meeting her maker courtesy of a point blank 12-gauge shotgun blast by the aforementioned rebellious teenage girl. A good question deserves a good answer.
Given that ‘The Strangers: Prey at Night’ is an unapologetic throwback and homage of sorts to the beloved ‘80s slashers from my childhood, I simply couldn’t resist the temptation. The movie shamelessly stole the creepy musical score of ‘Halloween’ and features a liberal selection of memorable ‘80’s pop hits in its soundtrack, including favorites such as Bonnie Tyler’s’ “Total Eclipse of the Heart” and Air Supply’s “Making Love Out of Nothing at All.” But for all its good intentions, the movie is not scary and the people (including the victims) are not likeable, so it was ultimately unable to be anything more than a tedious exercise in clinical slaughter, utterly disposable and forgettable.