Quick Hit: An example of an homage that adds little else to the picture or story.
I remember the sheer dread that emanated from the original Strangers film. When the words “Because you were home” were finally issued in answer to Liv Tyler’s desperately whispered question of “Why?”, I knew that I had watched something special. Indeed, despite the fact that the original movie came out 10 years ago, was beloved by most in the popular horror circuit and then forgotten about, it’s a movie whose influence is felt in many of the haunting films to follow with It Follows, Hereditary, The Babadook, and the like. I was against a sequel, especially a belated one such as this, so maybe I shouldn’t be the one writing this… but I am, so deal with it.
The best thing I can say about this movie is that it looks like a John Carpenter movie. The set pieces are expansive, the location is both gritty and stylized, and there are flashes of intense color that rip apart the grittiness in interesting ways. The worst thing I can say about this movie is that it looks like a John Carpenter movie. There is not much else that is different, and the blatant copying of a fellow director’s style without adding anything to the plate is something that I’ve maligned at length before. While there is still some value to be gained by following that style, it’s not worth the trouble for those that are watching it if there isn’t anything new for you.
The writing in this movie just comes across as lazy. I’m not sure if the point of the film was to make a critique on the slasher genre, or a loving tribute to it, or what. What comes across is cliché followed by cliché followed by more clichés. This horror family is on a trip, with a jock son and an angsty daughter. They stop somewhere without talking to the relative that lives there, in a mobile home park that is essentially deserted. When they start hearing things, they decide the best thing to do is split up. One of the things that I thought was so good about the original in this “series” was the fact that the characters didn’t really make any dumb decisions, and they still got got. If the horror movie villains outsmart you, well, that’s just your bad luck. But if you make stupid, cliché horror decisions, you deserve to get killed.
That, and the lack of characterization of these people, really make it seem like the 5th or 6th iteration in a franchise that has gone on too long and hasn’t yet reinvented itself. The horror is gone, and while you do get one scene worth watching in the movie involving a pool (it’s near the end and is the only reason this movie isn’t an “F”), it’s not enough to redeem all that has come before it.
I’m going to give this movie a “D”. There wasn’t much that I enjoyed about it, and I think it could have been decent had it just brought something, anything, new to the table.
For more on this film, check out IMDB.
"All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy"