“Is Tamara home?”
Despite its less than impressive reviews and 5.1 rating on Rotten Tomatoes, I actually found The Strangers: They Prey At Night a welcomed addition to the Strangers’ Franchise. This film compensated for the main issue I had with the first film. Although I did not care for the protagonist, Kinsey (Bailee Madison), I did enjoy how she actually fought back. She wasn’t just hiding the whole film. In the first film, I felt like the couple were waiting like pigs to the slaughter; so much so, that it almost became unbearable to watch. They didn’t start to fight back until it was too late.
This film featured the stereotypically family unit: the troubled teenage daughter, her stellar, athletic brother, and the parents who are trying so hard to keep the family together. Was I surprised or interested by the set up? No, not really, but I will say that was one of the few generic aspects of the film. Of course there was tension between Kinsey and her mother, Cindy (Christina Hendrix), but there was no true explanation for why. I believe if they were to explain what was the catalyst for Kinsey’s behavior and why she was being sent away we would receive the full story. Sadly, we will never know why she was being sent to a boarding school!
The film progresses with them driving to an abandoned trailer park and seemingly abandoned town, so you know nothing out of the usual. This town isn’t creepy at all. The family quickly makes themselves at home inside one of the trailers, but within 5 minutes Kinsey throws her sixth temper tantrum. She storms off to a creepy playground for a smoke break, but if they wanted to stay true to my generation Kinsey would’ve been juuling or vaping. Kinsey and her brother, Luke (Lewis Pullman), traipse around the trailer park and enter an empty trailer. Only to find the bodies of their dead relatives, and all hell breaks loose.
The family is entangled in a chase by the masked mad men seen in the earlier film. I was expecting complete carnage after the quick, pitiful deaths of the parents, but Luke and Kinsey went beyond my expectations. They gave the killers a run for their money. I was on the edge of seat rooting for brother-sister duo, and the audience erupted into cheers whenever they killed one of the masked mad men.
This is definitely a film to see in the theaters. The audience had a great time cheering and interacting with the film. I felt like I was in the actual movie, and I found myself attached to the characters. I really wanted to see them make it out alive!
Despite my enjoyment of this film, it missed the most essential ingredient to a slasher film. I never felt a sense of dread or terror in this film. I had so much fun watching the movie, but I wasn’t scared! What made the first film so popular is the dread. It resonated with people, my father still says, “Is Tamara home”. At the end of the day people watch horror movies to be scared. This is such an easy element to add that it was kind of disappointing. Picking a better soundtrack or changing the camera perspectives would’ve made a huge difference. This addition could’ve made the movie a 7.1 instead of a 5.1.