Blu-ray Review: The Strangers: Prey at Night

By , Contributor
Ten years ago horror flick The Strangers scored at the box office. While I personally never saw it, I did see The Strangers: Prey at Night—a new sequel co-written by the original's writer-director Bryan Bertino. For utterly no-frills thrills'n'chills, jump scares and goosebumps, Prey at Night totally gets the job done. I've read there are throwback references to the first film, and those went over my head for the previously-stated reason. It didn't matter. This home invasion slasher film is scary. And it's out on Blu-ray (and DVD) June 12, 2018.

Cindy (Christina Hendricks) and Mike (Martin Henderson) are parents of two teens: straight-laced athlete Luke (Lewis Pullman) and troubled delinquent Kinsey (Bailee Madison). On the eve of Kinsey's off-shuttling to boarding school, the family road trips to a nearly-vacant trailer park campsite. It's run by someone in the family's aunt and uncle, not really important who's. The night they get in, with the aunt and uncle apparently tucked away in bed, the four-piece family becomes terrorized by three masked psycho killers. 
 
Strangers Prey at Night couple.jpg What's interesting early on is that the family is imploding under the stress caused by Kinsey's misbehaving. The masked trio is sort of the manifestation of their collective woes, almost as if they willed themselves into this mayhem. No need to think much deeper than that, as Prey at Night is really just a meat-and-potatoes horror thriller.

The obligatory "killer who won't die" ending goes on a few beats longer than it should, almost as if director Johannes Roberts was trying to pad just to reach the already-short 86-minute running time. Side note: if you're used to seeing Bailee Madison in family-friendly fare like the Billy Crystal comedy Parental Guidance or the Hallmark series Good Witch, brace yourself. She's quite effective playing the almost-grown "bad girl" Kinsey.

Universal's Blu-ray edition has an alternate ending (thankfully cut!), two different versions of the film—R-rated and unrated (same running time), a couple "featurettes" that are really just trailers with a few clips of cast members discussing the plot, a music video, and a short (three minutes!), but at least moderately more substantial piece, about the film's retro music.

Strangers Prey at Night BD.jpg

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Chaz Lipp is a Las Vegas-based musician and freelance writer. His new jazz album 'Good Merlin' is now available.

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