Director: Johannes Roberts
Cast: Christina Hendricks, Martin Henderson, Bailee Madison
Release Date: June 12, 2018
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 8/10
Disc Rating: 7/10
A family’s road trip takes a dangerous turn when they arrive at a secluded mobile home park to stay with relatives and find it mysteriously deserted. Under the cover of darkness, three masked psychopaths pay them a visit to test the family’s every limit as they struggle to survive. Johannes Roberts (whose shark diving thriller 47 Meters Down was a smash hit) directs this horror film featuring Christina Hendricks, Bailee Madison, Martin Henderson and Lewis Pullman, inspired by the 2008 classic The Strangers.
‘The Strangers: Prey at Night’ accompanies a family whose road trip takes a deadly turn when they settle in at a secluded trailer park community for the night and quickly find themselves the prey of three mysterious, masked tormentors with deadly intentions following a sudden knock at the door and a terrifying subsequent discovery. As things quickly escalate and get bloody, the family must push beyond their terror and attempt to fight back against these unknown assailants if they stand any hope of surviving the night in this intense and massively entertaining thrill ride inspired by the Bryan Bertino written and directed film ‘The Strangers’ released in 2008.
Directed by Johannes Roberts (47 Meters Down, Storage 24) from a screenplay by Ben Ketai (The Forest) which was at least partially based upon an original screenplay previously written by Bryan Bertino (writer and director of the 2008 film ‘The Strangers’ which serves as its inspiration) respectively, Roberts does a wonderful job at the helm of ‘The Strangers: Prey at Night’ capturing much of the intensity and unsettling nature of the original while still making it very much his own. The film also features a cast comprised of a few familiar and some less familiar faces, including Christina Hendricks (The Neon Demon), Martin Henderson (Everest), Bailee Madison (TV’s Good Witch), Lewis Pullman (Battle of the Sexes) and more, the majority providing pretty decent performances in each of their respective roles, although some are undeniably better than others.
‘The Strangers: Prey at Night’ is a bloody, creepy and thoroughly entertaining ride into terror. A substantially different type of beast than the first film, although that’s not to say it doesn’t have its share of tense, harrowing and heartbreaking moments throughout. It merely tackles them with a bit more light (metaphorically speaking) and glimpses of hope which in many ways also helps to keep the viewer on their toes and largely uncertain of just which way things might go next, or in whose favor. It’s beautifully complimented by a perfectly selected soundtrack which features some famous 80’s music that couldn’t have worked any better; an intense poolside fight sequence perfectly set to “Total Eclipse of the Heart” easily makes for one of the most memorable and grin inducing scenes of the film. I would strongly encourage fellow genre fans and anyone that appreciated the original to try and make a point of giving ‘The Strangers: Prey at Night’ a whirl when possible. It’s a bloody, tense and wildly enjoyable follow-up, albeit drastically different from the 2008 film ‘The Strangers’ in many ways. Fortunately so many of those differences also end up being a welcome change of pace this time around if you can merely let go and embrace them.
In regard to the differences between the unrated and theatrical versions of the movie which both share an identical runtime down to the second (and are both included on the Blu-ray disc), the only difference appears to be alternate shots of a few bloody scenes such as a knife stabbing in a vehicle and a throat slitting in front of a car which are both noticeably tamer in the Theatrical Cut when it comes to the quantity of blood. Alternate, slightly more bloody shots such as this appear to be the only difference between cuts, at least as far as I could discern after skipping between the two and comparing a number of scenes.
Overall, ‘The Strangers: Prey at Night’ is a fast paced, stylish and brutal follow-up to the praised original which was released a decade ago. Largely switching up the formula and delivering a thoroughly enjoyable and blood-soaked fight for survival featuring a magnificent soundtrack that compliments it perfectly. ‘The Strangers: Prey at Night’ is highly recommended, particularly for genre fans in general, as well as fellow fans of the 2008 film that inspired this one. It may be notably different in many ways, yet still manages to capture the general unease and overall essence of the original while also never hesitating to be very much its own film. For anyone on the fence as well as those who missed it in theaters yet have been anxiously looking forward to it, it should be worth the cost of a rental at the very least for and well worth taking the time to check out.
The Blu-ray release of ‘The Strangers: Prey at Night’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 2.39:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio on both the Unrated and R-Rated versions of the film. The video presentation looks great as a whole and provides a fairly sharp, detailed and clean presentation from start to finish. It holds up impressively even during the numerous darkly lit sequences which occupy most of the film, never allowing anything occurring on screen to become negatively affected or rendered indiscernible. Overall, this is a solid high definition video presentation that should have no trouble satisfying the fans and first time viewers alike.
The Blu-ray release features a lossless 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on both versions of the film. This multichannel soundtrack makes a wonderful compliment to the movie and delivers a crisp, clean and quite active audio presentation throughout. It takes full advantage of all five available channels in order to send the marvelous soundtrack selections, along with plenty of nature elements, creepy audio effects and more throughout the various speakers whenever appropriate, and never resulting in any dialogue or other audio elements that might be occurring simultaneously to become distorted or rendered inaudible. Overall, this is a magnificent 5.1 channel DTS-HD MA soundtrack that holds up effortlessly from start to finish and contributes its share of addition to fun to the overall viewing experience.
The Blu-ray release of ‘The Strangers: Prey at Night’ includes a few brief extras. Included on the release is an ‘Alternate Ending’ (running approximately 2 minutes in length), along with a few short Behind the Scenes Featurettes that feature some behind the scenes footage and interviews/comments with the cast and crew. The included Featurettes are: ‘A Look Inside The Strangers: Prey at Night’ (running approximately 2 minutes), ‘Family Fights Back’ (approximately 2 minutes) and ‘The Music of The Strangers: Prey at Night’ (3 minutes). The ‘”Prep for Night” Music Video – Director’s Cut’ (approximately 2 minutes) is also included.