The belated sequel to the sleeper-hit from over a decade ago, "The Strangers: Prey at Night" essentially doubles down on its formula of murder "just because" and the disruption of domesticity. It's most effective when it's giving you something to remember, including a bizarrely entertaining synthpop score, a neon-lit pool scene with Bonnie Tyler blaring, and Brian De Palma influence. But seldom does it do that.
Roberts doubles the amount of people to kill in his sequel and delivers a slasher that is beautiful and strange. The premise remains unsettling and it's creepily excellent soundtrack is more than welcome but Prey at night goes truly WILD once the foursome gets down to two. I never knew I needed neon palm tress and a Texas Chainsaw Massacre inspired ending in 2018 but I'm so, so happy to have them both.
Ok ok ok. My biggest problem with this kind of thing is how proud of their own existential "profundity" the writers likely are as they imagine the woman responding "why not?" when asked to give a reason for murdering people. That said, if you take away the fact that it's representative of the most juvenile forms of the violent imagination, I liked the use of Air Supply and most of the other soundtrack choices.
"Prey at Night" trades the first film's commitment to handheld realism and nihilistic sadism for...an Eighties pop soundtrack and a split diopter shot within the first five minutes, so I'm fully onboard for whatever the filmmakers want to do here. Lean and efficient (it has to be, coming in at under 80 minutes), this might be the best sequel to "Halloween" and "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" that the slasher era never saw.
Pissed off they killed off Christina Hendricks so early in the movie - why the fuck is she content with doing so many bit parts in crappy movies? Fist Fight, The Neon Demon, Zoolander 2, Bad Santa 2, Pottersville, Candy Jar and now The Strangers: Prey at Night. She's the bright spot in all of them, but someone with her beauty and talent should be in better movies. I gotta give props to Bailee Madison too though.