A fashionably late follow-up to the 2008 horror success, The Strangers: Prey at Night is the latest arrival in the catalogue of not-so-eagerly awaited slasher sequels.
A couple of things have changed this time around; it’s bye-bye to the overdone home-invasion format and hello to the overdone 80s slasher imitation format. Once again, we see the eponymous strangers stalk a family, but this time they are transporting their youngest and arsiest to boarding school. The domestic setting is out, a foggy trailer park is in.
Fans of the original might be disappointed by the execution of Prey at Night, as the tension and nastiness of the original is eschewed for nods towards yesteryear. There are some jumpy moments tossed in for good measure, as well as a couple of entertaining action sequences, but they’re too few and far between to sustain the menace of the original. In the absence of scares, the most shocking thing about the film is that it hasn’t gone straight to DVD.
It’d feel like a conscious effort to disappoint if there were people out there actually interested in seeing a sequel to The Strangers ten years on. The first one – despite the bit where Dennis from Always Sunny gets his head blown off – was a fairly self-serious home invasion horror. Prey at Night has an altogether sillier approach, riffing and mocking a range of video nasty era fan favourites instead of the Funny Games cruelty of its predecessor. These influences will be appreciated by genre fans, but there’s little to recommend here for others, including fans of the original.
Prey at Night is exactly what you might expect from a slasher sequel; gutter-grade, soon-to-be streaming service filler that suffers from a serious dearth of shocks. That being said, its vaguely satirical edge and familiar genre violence might make it a worthwhile for admirers of old-school slashers. Anyone unfamiliar will find themselves feeling estranged.