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Other than the unexplained motive for the butchery, The Strangers: Prey at Night is one heck of a hack-and-slash fest.

3 out of 4 stars

The Strangers: Prey at Night
Written by
Bryan Bertino, Ben Ketai
Directed by
Johannes Roberts
Christina Hendricks, Martin Henderson, Bailee Madison, Lewis Pullman

When masked marauders are murdering her family to death, a daughter questions one of the killers as to why they are doing that. "Why not?" is the only answer she gets.

It's the only answer audiences will get, too, which is unfortunate, because other than the unexplained motive for the butchery, The Strangers: Prey at Night is one heck of a hack-and-slash fest. The sequel to 2008's The Strangers features a standard family of four taking its sullen, trouble-making daughter to a boarding school they can't afford.

They stop for the night at a relative's summer mobile-home park, which, being after Labour Day, is deserted. Deserted, except for three maniacs (a guy and two girls in an indestructible old pickup truck) whose family values are the Charles Manson kind. The film is a technical wonder, especially the sound design.

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There's also an excellent incongruity at work: Happy faces drawn in blood, viscous killers in playful masks and cheesy eighties music as the soundtrack to savagery.

Maybe it was Air Supply and Bonnie Tyler that incited the stabbing. It's as good an explanation as any.

The Strangers: Prey at Night opens March 9.

Allison Janney praises Sam Rockwell, while the cast of 'Black Panther' roots for their co-star Daniel Kaluuya. Reuters

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