FIRST LOOK: "Prey at Night" not hairraising but I closed my eyes

Updated 1 year ago by Tony Rutherford , HNN Entertainment Editor
FIRST LOOK: "Prey at Night" not hairraising but I closed my eyes

Knock, knock, knocking on the trailer door at a deserted post vacation season park turns out to be a long haired "girl" innocently asking , "Is Tamara home?"

Cindy (Christina Hendricks) tells her she's got the wrong mobile home. Cindy shrugs it off as a lost girl to her husband Mike (Martin Henderson) . The couple realize their teens  Kinsey ( Bailee Madison) and Luke (Lewis Pullman) are out roaming . In fact, the family is pending the night on the way to depositing troublesome teen Kinsey in a boarding school.

FIRST LOOK: "Prey at Night" not hairraising but I closed my eyes

"Strangers Prey at Night" could stand on its own rather than labeled a sequel (reboot?) of "The Strangers" (2008) in which a random home invasion purportedly took inspiration from the Charlie Manson /Sharon Tate mutilations. The family of four has no relation to earlier victims, but  psychos Pin Up Girl (Lea Enslin), Dollface (Emma Bellomy) and axe weilding Man in the Mask (Damian Maffei) have been resurrected . 

"Prey" follows the new slasher standard by adding a cliche filled shell story wrapped around reduced gore (sore throat anyone?) and a reliance on vulnerable venues. Refraining from modernized CGI, repeated simplistic ordinary imagery ( a deserted playground, rows of street lights, a narrow bridge) pump adrenalin. A lighted pool provides a solidly photographed hand to hand battle.

FIRST LOOK: "Prey at Night" not hairraising but I closed my eyes

The misbehaving teen female steals the focus. Left unexplored --- exactly what type of conduct led to her parent's decision? Her greatest sins appear a cigarette, sarcastic mouth and overuse of her cell phone. 

Curiously, Bonnie Tyler's 80s "Total Eclipse of the Heart" plays throughout on car radios and Kinsey wears a "The Ramones" t-shirt.  Director Johannes Roberts ("47 Meters Down") fails to elaborate, especially since the smart phones quickly dispel an 80s time frame. 

On the other hand, those who poke fun at poor crisis decisions by a multitude of stalked victims to be negate that overwhelming emotion disregard logic. 

Those unfamiliar with the original might find "Prey" more favorable than  those who have viewed and compare to the original. Random acts of violence still accent the  elusive motive : Why not. Considering the lone massacre shooter plague, "Prey" elicits an ugly cultivation of wrong place, wrong time fate coupled by troubled protagonists sinking increasing in quicksand.

FIRST LOOK: "Prey at Night" not hairraising but I closed my eyes

Terror here does not come from implied supernatural presence. The evil lurks in the hearts of Pin Up, Dollface, and Masked Man. At the risk of a "spoiler" the truck smashing jolted my recall enough to flash to a fiery accident that took my behind the wheel confidence. Closed eyes occurred; fortunately, the script deviated from what might have , to use the words of a character, "weirded ME out." 

One parting thought --- these freaks killed with knives, not guns. A reminder that a mental health component does not require a weapon that shoot bullets to maim. 



















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