A family, comprised primarily of attractive parents Mike (Martin Henderson) and Cindy (Christina Hendricks) and their slow pitch loving bro of a son (Lewis Pullman), heads out on a road trip to deliver their bitchitude sufferin’ daughter Kinsey (Bailee Madison) to her new boarding school, where it is hoped she’ll turn her wicked ways around post haste. There is a problem with this plan however when the family makes a scheduled stop at a trailer park to spend the night with some relatives…though the park seems as deserted as the local cineplex during a showing of Solo (my reviews will be timeless…timeless I tells ya!). Well it turns out there a few folks still kicking around; namely The Man in the Mask (Damian Maffei), Pinup (Lea Enslin), and Dollface (Emma Bellomy)…a trio of mass murderin’ psychos ready to get down and dirty with the horror biz on our dysfunctional antagonists! What follows is a blood splattered night of never ending tension as that terrible threesome does the ol’ stalk n’ slay bag with our harrowed heroes!
Now that we know the long and the short of The Strangers: Prey at Night let’s go into what works (and what doesn’t) about the film. First up in the positive department…the acting! While I would never be one to deny that the main characters of this fright flick are simply well worn tropes, and don’t really offer anything new to the mix (sounds like a negative, but read on to find out why that isn’t necessarily a bad thing)…the actors involved all do an admirable job of making them seem like multi-dimensional human beings, and all are able to deliver a palpable feeling of terror when our masked maniacs come a-killing! Speaking of those cats, I really dug the visuals on our vile villains…the main man is a classic burlap sack affair, while his gals Friday sport adorable yet also creepy cute countenances that are pretty damn iconic if I do say so myself (and I do)! Adding to the fun is a nice retro score and soundtrack that does an admirable job of making this one seem as if it could take place in the ’80’s…the golden age of slasher cinema…even though it doesn’t. Finally, and this one is a more personal thing, I love the fact that this film takes place in a rural trailer park, much like the ones that existed (hell, still exist) in the bucolic mountain side town I grew up in…I always loved when fright flicks had settings that mirrored where I grew up, and this gave me the warm and fuzzies in my nostalgia nuggets!
As for the negatives…there isn’t much truth be told. The main element that may have some of you horror hounds moaning is that it takes a bit to get around to the gruesome gore we all came for, as the first act is mainly comprised of family drama to make us care about our potential victims…it’s a minor quibble, and the film delivers the goods when it gets cookin’, but I felt it was worth a mention.
Obviously I enjoyed The Strangers: Prey at Night and would recommend you pick this release up for the main event itself, but there a few extra features on here that sweeten the pot a tad! First up you get two cuts of the flick of the theatrical and uncut varieties. You know the drill; “uncut” is the way to go as it delivers a bit more of the ol’ red sauce! Following that we get an alternate (and more satisfying) ending, a music video for the song I Think Were Alone Now (an industrial take on the Tommy James & the Shondells/Tiffany classic), a couple of brief “behind-the-scenes” featurettes, and a look at the film’s soundtrack.
The Strangers: Prey at Night is a rock solid slasher flick that wears it’s inspirations on it’s sleeve yet still manages to do it’s own thing…and do it damn well! I think all lovers of the ol’ stalk n’ slay genre will enjoy this one thoroughly!