“They should do a sequel to The Strangers,” is something I’ve literally never heard, like, “I wish Richard Osman was on TV more,” or a Killers song I didn’t hate. Nevertheless a Strangers sequel has arrived after 10 years, and this time it’s Christina Hendricks’ turn to be tormented by the trio wearing masks, presumably for the sake of their acting careers.
When last we saw the Strangers, they’d just murdered Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman with zero resistance, then said: “It’ll be easier next time.” How could it possibly get any easier? And why would they want it to? They’re a group of sadists killing for sport, surely they’d want more of a challenge if anything?
That is what they get in the form of a family spending the night in an abandoned trailer park, because horror movie. The family does put up a bit of a fight, and unsurprisingly this makes for a more enjoyable film. In the same way that stubbing your toe is more enjoyable than chopping it off.
This sequel takes us out of the home invasion sub-genre and into slasher territory, while bludgeoning us with homages to films like The Texas Chain Saw Massacre and Children of the Corn. The ’80s soundtrack (I Think We’re Alone Now, Total Eclipse of the Heart etc.) smacks of cynicism, chasing the nostalgia dollar exploited by the franchise’s near-namesake Stranger Things.
In one sequence that’s funnier than it means to be, the dad (Martin Henderson) is sat in his car when Sackface (not to be confused with Thanos) gets into the passenger seat and puts Cambodia by Kim Wilde on the radio while the dad shrieks a bit, evidently not much of a fan.
Although the Halloweeny score is a vast improvement upon its woeful predecessor, this is another empty void of a film, albeit in slightly different ways. It’s serviceable for teenage slumber parties, but otherwise the featureless characters and tired clichés will make you want to hit the sack.
As a side note, why is hack director Johannes Roberts so drawn to horror movies with awful names? The Strangers: Prey at Night, The Other Side of the Door, 47 Metres Down, and now he’s making a sequel called – you guessed it – 48 Metres Down. That’s an entire metre scarier you guys. Hopefully Mandy Moore will be back. Is another thing I’ve never, ever heard.