It seems like every few years, the film industry decides to remake an old classic, or add more to classic stories which do not need the addition. How can we, as an audience, blame them though? Audiences always love to turn up for their favorite slashers and villains, even if there are some doubts about the product. 2018 is no different in terms of sequels, as the Strangers gets it’s first sequel since initial release in 2008, and the trailer just dropped this past weekend.
For those who don’t know or may not remember, The Strangers film (starring Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman) was an oddity in the horror genre, and is easily one of the most chilling movies out. Even the plot is Hitchcockian in that it is so simple: a couple who are terrorized by three masked killers in the safety of their own home. The Strangers had minimal jump scares with most of the uneasiness being made through the subtle appearances of the unnamed masked leader, a few well placed bumps and jumps, an eerie skipping record, and a line that still haunts to this day:
Kristen: Why are you doing this to us?
Dollface: Because you were home.
Naturally, when a movie that stands apart from modern horror films is announced to get a sequel, there’s much to worry about.
When the Prey At Night trailer dropped, the first thing which caught my eye was the title if only because it already looked like every other slasher movie out there.
For some odd reason, I have a bad feeling this could spell the entire movie out for us just in text. Look at the two side by side. The first was minimalist like the movie itself, and the second is… loud and written in blood. This is only something I am picking up on as I am writing this, but I knew upon first watch the title bothered me and now I see why. A minor nuisance which will prove correct later on.
A Very Short Trailer Breakdown:
As I view the trailer (which can be viewed HERE) the cliches are overwhelmingly obvious as we see the rebellious teen girl and her brother, a family in an empty (abandoned?) trailer park. This is not a big issue because if one were to expect anything different, their standards are already too high. It is just something to openly accept: we will never escape these damn cliches.
Dollface(?) makes her debut in the trailer with her line: “is Tamara home?” to which she leaves abruptly. As she asks this, it’s heard in her tone that it is much more demanding and aggressive than the original which reiterates my suspicion above about it being loud and in your face, which the original was not.
We see a mirror with “hello” written repeatedly on it in red (blood? Looks like lipstick to me, but who knows!) which matches the smiley face in the movie poster. This was not in the original and is a new touch.
From then on the trailer consists of two jumpscares (counted) but the majority was the masked villains creeping on their prey as loud and noisily as possible, running, driving a truck through the home, all completed with neon lights and “I think We’re Alone Now” performed by Tiffany.
It seems as though Stranger Things fever has hit the box office and now everyone is obsessed with bringing back the eighties, and I’m not too sure how well it will work. The original movie is so chilling because of the subtlety of the scares, and it seems my suspicions served correct as the trailer for the sequel is home to loud noises and music galore (I like the aesthetic, but following the original with this? No way.) I would even go as far as saying that Prey At Night looks to be a love child between Friday The 13th (2009), You’re Next and Purge: Election Year - but only the first half, with all the lights and the prom queen looking for her candy bar.
Personally, I have had my share of doubts since I saw the first announcement for The Strangers: Prey At Night, but my curiosity was piqued, and I believe strongly that is what they are counting on. While I don’t believe it will be nearly as impactful as the first Strangers movie, and I desperately believe that this one movie could have been left alone… I want to see how it pans out.
Sue me for my curiosity, but just because it is vastly different, I have faith that maybe something good will come out of it. It is a very modern take on the older movie, and that can only mean compromise. As a huge fan of the subtle discomfort and the skipping record, I will miss it dearly as I exchange it for loud booming music and pink flamingos, however, that cocked gun number in the trailer sold me. As someone who goes into movies like these with low expectations, I am fully prepared to be let down, but something about the look just makes me excited. Maybe it was the fantastic music choice.
It most certainly won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, and I am almost positive that when it comes down to user reviews, they may favorite the 2008 Strangers more, pretentiously or authentically. The least we can do is give it a shot. If the trailer was surprising, maybe the movie will be just the same.
And I think deep down, we all want to know if the next time will be easier.
The Strangers: Prey At Night is set for theaters on March 9th of this year.