Plot: Kinsey (Bailee Madison) is going through a rebel phase, so she is acting out and getting into all kinds of trouble. But her mother Cindy (Christina Hendricks) plans to get her back on the right track, even if that means shipping her off to boarding school to get herself right. Of course, Kinsey is irate about the decision, but the entire family packs up and heads out to drop her off the new school. The road trip makes a quick pitstop at a trailer park owned by a relative, which allows them to stretch their legs and get some relaxation after time on the road. The family drama continues and Kinsey pouts, then smokes cigarettes without inhaling, but soon all the melodrama will seem pointless, when some outsiders arrive at the park. As a trio of masked maniacs stalk the park, can the whiny family put aside their petty differences and survive the assault, or will the killers do us all a favor and end their lives?
Entertainment Value: A decade after the original The Strangers, a sequel was released and while it has some moments, it is overall a dull experience. The movie has a brisk pace once the family reaches the trailer park, but until then, we have a lame, snooze of a drama with unlikable characters. I was optimistic about that, as I hoped we could see these annoying people killed off in horrific ways, but The Strangers: Prey at Night is all bark and little bite. I appreciated that the ineffective family drama was dropped and the movie just turns into a stalk and kill picture, but when I wanted nastiness, the movie chose to reel in the violence. So expect a lot of off screen carnage and when we do see the violence, it is low impact and not creative. I can deal with minimal violence, but at least throw in some inventive kills, right? Aside from some language, this could easily pass as PG-13, which is a shame. At the same time, the brisk pace and lack of exposition once the hunt begins make it more than passable. I also appreciated the visuals and soundtrack, but I wish it had the nerve to go for broke on the horror elements. So in the end, this is a solid slasher flick with some effective style points, but The Strangers: Prey on Night drops the ball on the scares and bloodshed.
No nakedness. The movie has a lot of blood, but very little on screen violence and that is a disappointment. As a rated R movie, this one only earns it through the language, as the camera is hardly ever willing to let us see the violence and we just see blood stains or the aftermath of the attacks. So we know the killers butcher a couple at the trailer park, but none of the craziness is shown. The mutilated bodies are shown after and the effects look cool, but why not show us the actual violence? This holds true through most of the movie, as we’re shown a parade of violence that happens just outside our field of vision, save a few rare exceptions. I’ve seen more kinetic violence in PG-13 films, so the choice to go so tame is an odd one. The dialogue is forgettable, which is fine since the movie makes little effort to tell a story outside of some brief, paper thin family drama. I do think that Bailee Madison has some fun moments as the Hot Topic hipster, so that’s worth a point. As for craziness, aside from some hilarious logic gaps and Baliee’s wonderfully terrible performance, The Strangers: Prey at Night is a cookie cutter stalk & slash flick, nothing fresh or wild here.
Overall Insanity: 1/10