After a decade we finally get the long-awaited sequel to Bryan Bertino’s shocking home invasion movie, THE STRANGERS. In this follow-up, the fearsome threesome stalks and slashes their way through a family staying overnight in an empty trailer park. Does this movie live up to the promise of original? Not even close.
47 METERS DOWN director Johannes Roberts makes a visually stunning movie. Instead of the minimalist nature of the first film, the visuals are ramped up a notch with brighter colors accented by the 80’s-inspired soundtrack. This doesn’t always work but at least this proves some effort made to give this movie atmosphere. The acting is also strong. Given that the characters are more wooden than Pinocchio, the cast- led by Christina Hendricks of MAD MEN and Martin Henderson of THE RING made the most of what they were given.
This movie was a hot mess. I really really wanted to like it as I’ve been waiting for it for 10 years. No matter how good the film looked and strong the actors were you can’t root for stupid characters making stupid decisions. Most of the plot was driven based on the vacuous actions of the family. This is one of those movies where characters never turn around and look behind them. Sorry- spoiler alert. Interestingly enough, a lot of time is devoted to exploring the dynamics of the family before the carnage begins. None of it is interesting nor does it make you sympathize with them. Also, the titular characters went from being actual humans (although super speedy) to super humans with telekinetic powers knowing exactly where their would-be victims would hide. Fuck! This movie was awful. It lacks any suspense and even the jump scares were limp. The killers are completely devoid of personality and truthfully they wouldn’t pose a real threat considering their victims are a family of four who are all fairly young and healthy. This speaks to how the movie isn’t willing to rise above the cliched horror movie tropes (i.e. a girl falling as she’s being chased, not shooting the killer when you have the chance, a dopey father).
I was really rooting for THE STRANGERS to become a solid franchise. The original is still strong and continues to hold up. Unfortunately, the sequel just limped along and became the type of film that gives horror films a bad name due to its laziness. There was a certain “what’s the point?” stench that filled the entire movie. Please- for the love of all that’s good in the world- we don’t need a third entry. The only thing I came away from this movie is confidence in director Johannes Roberts, because it was his direction that saved this movie from becoming a complete shit stain. It makes me excited for his upcoming sequel 48 METERS DOWN. Let’s just pretend THE STRANGER: PREY AT NIGHT is a minor bump in his career.
PS- Please also let this be the end of movies being marketed as “based on true events” when they’re really not.
This movie gets a
* (Out of 4 stars)