"The Strangers: Prey at Night" Hits Top 3 at Box Office!
As Disney's "Black Panther" and "A Wrinkle in Time" dominates this week's box office, the new horror film, "The Strangers" Prey at Night," with Christina Hendricks, took third place with $10.5 million.
Synopsis: When Cindy (Christina Hendricks) and her husband, Mike (Martin Henderson), take their rebellious teenage daughter Kinsey (Bailee Madison) and son Luke (Lewis Pullman) on a road trip, what began as an ordinary, gripe-filled family excursion soon becomes their worst nightmare come to life. Upon arrival at a secluded mobile home park, a knock on their trailer door leads to an inescapable night of terror as three masked strangers, with inexplicable deadly intentions, force this fractured family to come together and fight for their lives. Johannes Roberts (47 Meters Down) directs this horror film inspired by the 2008 smash hit The Strangers.
Review: In The Strangers: Prey at Night, three eerily disguised assailants emerge from the darkness to indiscriminately terrorize unsuspecting, innocent individuals going about their business. “The Strangers: Prey at Night is inspired by Bryan Bertino’s The Strangers, from ten years ago, with Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman,” explains director Johannes Roberts. “I’m a huge fan of the first movie and what Bryan did as a director. With this film, the movie centers on a family bringing their daughter to boarding school. It is a family struggling to connect and on the verge of falling apart. On their journey, they stop-off at the trailer park to stay overnight. As they begin to settle in for the night, a menacing presence appears in the form of three masked strangers, who intend to hunt and lethally harm them one-by-one, and now the family must rely on each other to survive. It is pretty dark and gruesome.”
Similar to the original film, the central characters in The Strangers: Prey at Night are more than a plot device for blood and gore. “The original film, The Strangers, differentiated itself from the typical home invasion movie by building a relationship between the characters which made it more effective when the frightening intruders arrive to terrorize them,” says producer James Harris. “With this film, we, again, wanted the audience to care about the characters upfront because if they are not invested in the characters, then they don’t care if these characters die, and that’s an important element to heightening the suspense and experiencing the fear.”
In addition to creating characters with a compelling emotional journey to build the fear, having three disguised antagonists stalking and slaying unwitting victims at random is the crucial component that drives the terror. “With this film, I didn’t want to rely on jump scares to get the audience to react,” explains Roberts. “I didn’t want someone to come out of the dark when you least expect it and go ‘Boo,’ and the audience jumps. Jump scares can be cool and fun, but this isn’t that movie. This is a movie about dread and atmosphere.”
“The audience sees the strangers before our characters do, and they’re just there,” continues Roberts. “When the characters come face-to-face with these terrifying assailants who just want to kill them, it invokes a horrific, inevitable and unreasoning psychological fear that makes the film scary.”
And the randomness by which these strangers choose their targets also increases the fear because no one is safe. “I think what’s interesting about the strangers is that they are always trying to play with the protagonists,” says Harris. “The fear of having three people, who you don’t even know, doing something for no motive whatsoever, essentially committing a pointless, horrific act is terrifying to people because it means no one is chosen for a reason. It’s just about being in the wrong place at the wrong time. And that plays into people’s fears.”
The Strangers: Prey at Night was released in theaters March 9, 2018, is expected to do quite well for the time being. Although entirely predictable, it still played out well and had a bunch of suspense that left me on the edge of my seat. A major plus was that the film had some comedic relief to help me not feel so tense. I would recommend this film for thriller movie lovers. For me, what makes this film twisted in a good way is the fact that real events inspire it. It gave it more "oomph" and sent chills down my spine.