Johannes Roberts (director)
04 May 2018 (released)
02 May 2018
The original The Strangers from 2008 was a pretty nasty piece of work, that at the same time as providing some gruelling moments tension that kept the viewer engrossed. Setting it in mostly with a house and closed area kept the atmosphere dense and forbidding. This ‘inspired’ follow up retains some of that denseness but in opening it up loses something of the suffocating claustrophobia.
Disruptive daughter Kinsey (Bailee Madison) is off to private school much to the chagrin of her brother Luke (Lewis Pullman) who has been forced to go along for the ride by his parents Cindy (Christina Hendricks) and Mike (Martin Henderson). The long road trip is putting a strain on them all so there’s some relief when they arrive at their secluded trailer-park for the night run by family members.
While they are getting settled there’s a knock at the door and a befuddled young woman, mutters something, then goes off. The family ready for the night only to be terrorised by three masked strangers, who only have one thing on their mind. So begins a macabre cat and mouse between the family and the strangers that spreads beyond the confines of the trailer to encompass the grounds, cars and 80’s pop music.
The nihilism that drove The Strangers in 2008 is present in this follow up. Not deviating from the previous MO the strangers wear the same masks, have very little dialogue and an unrelenting need to terrorise and humiliate. And as before the filmmakers don’t pose any obvious reasons for the attacks or who they attack. The sole reason given, when one is unmasked and asked why, is ‘because I can’.
Director Johannes Roberts has expanded the territorial roamings of the Strangers and there’s a decent use of the locations shrouding them in misty shadows, making this an impressive looking film. Whatever one may think of the savagery in the swimming pool it has a strange disturbing prettiness about it with the lit coloured artificial palm trees surrounding it. Roberts keeps a tight directorial hand on this with some effective stalk and menace scenes. The cast are fine in what are slight roles.
There’s no reason why we shouldn’t ponder whether The Strangers are a metaphor for society’s decline, self-interest and selfishness. But it is much easier to just enjoy the vacuous creepiness of it all.