A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Strangers: Prey at Night is a home-invasion horror movie that's a sequel to 2008's hit The Strangers. It's very violent, with attacks via knife, gun, ax, golf club, baseball bat, and truck. There's lots of blood and gore and some dead bodies. A teen girl is also sliced up and cries in pain. Language includes several uses of "f--k," plus "s--t," "bitch," and more. A teen girl uses middle-finger gestures. A married couple mentions sex in one scene; they also drink wine from a bottle. A teen girl smokes cigarettes. Teens consider taking shots of whiskey, but don't do it. Bottom line? This is pretty pointless, but horror fans may have a little fun with it.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In THE STRANGERS: PREY AT NIGHT, troublemaking teen Kinsey (Bailee Madison) is being shipped off to a boarding school by her exasperated but loving parents, Cindy (Christina Hendricks) and Mike (Martin Henderson). Kinsey's older brother, Luke (Lewis Pullman), joins them for the road trip to the school. They stop at a mobile home park to spend the night, but, just as they're about to settle in, they're visited by an unusual young woman. Then, Kinsey and Luke find an open trailer with two dead bodies inside. Realizing that all their phones have been disabled, the family members try to escape, but eerie masked killers are on the attack. As the bodies begin to fall, Kinsey and Luke try to fight back, but the "strangers" are everywhere...
Is it any good?
This 10-years-later sequel to one of the staples of the home-invasion horror subgenre is aggravatingly typical, with baffling lapses in logic, dumb characters, and annoying, all-powerful killers. The original The Strangers (2008) wasn't good (or well-received by either critics or viewers), but it still made lots of money. Thus, the sequel, The Strangers: Prey at Night, which is completely unnecessary other than as an investment. Director Johannes Roberts (The Other Side of the Door, 47 Meters Down), starts things off promisingly, with a 1980s-style title card and a creepy, 1980s-style synthesizer score, as well as some ironically chosen '80s pop songs. He even includes a De Palma-like split-screen shot.
But the movie disintegrates quickly from there. It has predictable jump scares and clichés like the lone, creaking swing on the swing set. The characters aren't very smart, and their dialogue never really rings true. Unbelievably, all four of them leave their trailer without taking their phones. And they're always poking around where they shouldn't be, facing the wrong direction, or running from danger in plain sight. The killers, on the other hand, are inhumanly imperturbable, with nary a drop of adrenaline affecting their actions. They're also able, supernaturally, to be anywhere, at any time, and to know where their victims are at all times. There's no suspense and no horror. It's all just crushingly dull.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about The Strangers: Prey at Night's violence. How much blood and gore is shown? What's the effect? Does it make you jump, squeal, or shut your eyes? Is it shocking? What's the impact of media violence on kids?
Is the movie scary? What's the appeal of horror movies? What's the appeal of home-invasion movies in particular?
How does this sequel compare to the first movie?
- In theaters: March 9, 2018
- On DVD or streaming: June 12, 2018
- Cast: Christina Hendricks, Bailee Madison, Martin Henderson
- Director: Johannes Roberts
- Studio: Aviron Pictures
- Genre: Horror
- Run time: 85 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: horror violence and terror throughout, and for language
- Last updated: September 20, 2019
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