Strangers: Prey at Night, The. Sheds Thriller For Slasher Concept
Strangers: Prey at Night, The. Film Details
Director: Johannes Roberts
Bryan Bertino (Original Screenplay)
Release Date: March 9, 2018
Release Format: Cinemas
MPAA Rating: R
Running Time: 87 minutes
A family staying in a secluded mobile home park for the night are visited by three masked psychopaths, to test their every limit.
Filmmaker Bryan Bertino presented a chilling film with his 2008 Thriller, The Strangers. The narrative combined a home invasion concept with Thriller overtones. The draw to Bertino’s production was the complexities of delivering Horror context. Blood and gore were minimal but the eeriness of the unexpected seized imagination. The titular characters; Man in The Mask, Dollface, and Pinup Girl had a macabre aura. Watching the trio terrorize their prey with predatory prose became a cryptic design of entertainment. Bertino’s approach felt authentic in execution and the characters were strange, a product of mystery.
Related Article: The Strangers Character Promos
The final scene in The Strangers became the centerpiece, the antagonists accomplishing their deadly goal became a staple in Horror cinema. Since then many including myself have waited for a sequel to release. Am not one to justify reboots and/or sequels but, I made a rare exception.
Fast-forward ten years later, now Director Johannes Roberts brings a different look at Bertino’s imaginative conception with The Strangers Prey At Night. Was this next installment worth the long excruciating wait?
The Strangers Prey At Night felt darker, grittier than its predecessor. This was expected since this technique is a continuous pattern with the surge of Horror film reboots. Sometimes the aesthetic works and most times these changes falls as lifeless as a murdered victim. Using this creative direction in The Strangers: Prey at Night yielded a different viewing experience. Writer Ben Ketai stripped away every nerve inducing aspect of the original film. The stalker-like impression in Bertino’s film was replaced with cat-and-mouse chase scenes. Tension building moments was supplanted by action sequences and jump scares. These changes created a typical slasher film.
Dollface became the celebrity to Roberts’ film, I found this perplexing since the title of the film is The Strangers not The Dollface Murders. While I commend fixing priority on a female antagonist, Dollface is not the central character in this narrative.
Throughout the screening session, surrounding moviegoers invested interested in the establishing scenes. Some cheered, others cursed and everyone reacted when one of The Strangers met a tragic end. While The Strangers: Prey at Night did not convey strong scare factor a distributed response among the crowd was from the jump scares. If this is the calculated reaction by Roberts and Ketai they’ve accomplished in their mission.
The Strangers: Prey at Night was not a complete negative to the franchise. There were qualities to point out that makes this reboot a refined composition. Events unfold on a desolate trailer park instead of an isolated backdrop. This defeats the claustrophobic intimacy of a home invasion thriller but sets up an open world environment for action to unravel at a quicker pace.
The performances were not an issue in The Strangers: Prey at Night. Each actor shined in his/her appointed role. Yet, audiences will be offered a basic array of characters that convey more yawns than interest. This is in stark distinction from the internal conflict between the protagonists featured in the first film.
With the plot, The Strangers: Prey at Night delivers nothing of significance. Summing up this eighty-seven (87) minute presentation are the quintessential bad decisions, running, shouting and dabbles of blood. While the special effects were nonexistent, practical effects were a splendid addition to Roberts’ film. The highlight exhibition was the scene presenting a charred Man in the Mask.
I appreciated the cinematographic composition displayed in The Strangers: Prey at Night. The camera work enhanced the despair and Horror. The sole exception was the foolish decision to have an extreme zoom across a swimming pool. Doing so failed to capture the evolving action on the other side. The exhibition I refer to concentrates on PinUp Girl’s demise. Lighting and scene designs also added to the gritty atmosphere of the film. Yet, the highlight was The Strangers: Prey at Night soundtrack. The track selections varied in genre and era and create a retro aesthetic to the film.
There is a fantastic homage to Tobe Hooper‘s 1974 cult-classic presented in ACT III. Yet, the scene that followed felt out of place with how the situation ended for the titular characters.
My expectations were high for The Strangers: Prey at Night and it is regrettable Roberts did not reach or exceed predictions. The film had the prominence of an ordinary slasher film and this is a radical change from the creeping thriller Bertino provided in the original film.
If you enjoyed much of the soundtrack for The Strangers: Prey at Night March 23rd, 2018 is the date for a digital release. The soundtrack will also release on CD April 13th, 2018 both platforms are via Varèse Sarabande Records.
“I had an idea that once we reach Gatlin Lake, just as the strangers are tuning into radio pop from yesteryear, so too should the scoring sensibilities get occasionally dialed across the decades….”
“I also wanted to treat it as much as possible as a live event, but also incorporating certain ‘musique concrete’ techniques, reverse tape, loops, cut ups etc.”
“The recording sessions took place at night in an incredibly atmospheric (deconsecrated) chapel, centuries old….
“I projected the film onto a 30-foot high paper screen and improvised to picture, mixing acoustic instruments, vintage synths and organs. There were no nearby neighbors to disturb so I was able to get the entire building thrumming with the cacophony.”
Adrian Johnston Music Composer The Strangers: Prey at Night
1. Kids in America
Performed by Kim Wilde
2. The Strangers Prey At Night
3. Gatlin Lake Getaway Welcomes You!
4. Is Tamara Home?
5. Is Somebody There?
6. Live It Up
Performed by Mental As Anything
7. Bathroom Assault
8. Under Siege
9. On The Run
10. But We’ve Just Started
Performed by Kim Wilde
13. Remember That Time?
14. Call 911
15. Total Eclipse of The Heart
Performed by Bonnie Tyler
16. Pulled To Safety
17. The Sheriff
19. Making Love Out Of Nothing At All
Performed by Air Supply
20. The Bridge
22. End Titles
23. Bonus Track