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The Strangers: Prey At Night (2018)

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Genre : Horror
Country : United States
Director: Johannes Roberts

Cast:
Christina Hendricks
Bailee Madison
Martin Henderson

Summary

A family staying in a secluded mobile home park for the night are visited by three masked psychopaths, to test their every limit.

 

 

The 2000’s were a funny time for horror movies. Coming off the hangover of post-Scream teen horror we saw everything from J-horror remakes and found footage to the resurgence of zombies and splatter films. Big trends that would get big and then fizzle out over time. Despite these fads one of the most popular films from that time was something completely different, The Strangers. Unlike other movies from 2008 like Saw V and The Midnight Meat Train, The Strangers didn’t depend on gore and bloodshed. Director Bryan Bertino created a taut thriller that put an emphasis on tension building. Making nearly 10 times its budget a sequel seemed inevitable. And yet it never came. Production was pushed back year after year and it seemed like it would never come out. Then, randomly in December, The Strangers: Prey At Night was not only announced but it was given a March release date. Horror fans were excited but had it been too long?

Based on a script by Bryan Bertino, The Strangers: Prey at Night introduces audiences to your typical family from the suburbs. When their daughter Kinsey (Bailee Madison) continues to get into trouble parents Cindy (Christina Hendricks) and Mike (Martin Henderson) decide to send her to boarding school. Despite in-fighting within the family they pick up their son Luke (Lewis Pullman) and head to the family-owned Gatlin Lake mobile home park. With familial turmoil at an all-time high they are soon confronted by “Pin-Up Girl,” “Dollface,” and the “Man in the Mask.”

Quite frankly, it doesn’t have the most original plot. Whether it’s the supportive if somewhat oblivious father with his all-American wife to the rebellious, cigarette smoking daughter and athletically gifted son the characterizations are paper thin. None of our cast does anything we haven’t seen hundreds of times before. To the point that aside from the opening kill scene the movie can feel a bit tedious with the character arcs being so predictable. When the plot does try to step outside of the box it’s to reference the original which isn’t much better.

 

Since it’s a sequel, some connections to the first movie are to be expected. Things like how the killers look and their modus operandi are a given. The problem arises when it comes to replicating the actual scares. Things like forms slowly becoming visible behind our leads and those blink-and-you-miss-it appearances aren’t as effective as they once were. Not only was it done better in the original but there have been a decade’s worth of similar frights. So, is that to say that The Strangers: Prey At Night is a complete let down? Not quite.

For all of its faults as a sequel to The Strangers, Prey At Night works quite well as a straight slasher movie. Heavily influenced by John Carpenter it feels more like an 80’s slasher movie than a home invasion thriller. Like the directors of old, Roberts uses a mix of steady cam and dramatic close ups that works well with the movie’s setting.

Using all of the Gatlin Lake trailer park the family is hunted from the dreary mobile homes to a neon-clad community pool. Much like the Friday the 13th video game each space has its own feel, complimented by a synth-heavy soundtrack. All of this combined it creates a fun aesthetic without feel like it’s trying too hard to be retro. It also strays from the original with an upped rate of gore.  Consisting mostly of practical effects ice picks and axes are utilized in a way that would make Jason Voorhees proud. Prey At Night also puts more emphasis on jump scares than before. And while some are of the “cat out of nowhere” variety they typically pay off with a deadly appearance from our sharp dressed killers.

For over a decade fans of The Strangers have waited for a sequel and it’s finally here. For fans of Bryan Bertino’s original I’m not quite sure this is the movie you’ve been hoping for. Unlike the first movie the characterizations are fairly weak and the buildup is nowhere near as good as the first time around. With that said if you can get past this there is fun to be had. Reminiscent of past horror classics we get an 80’s inspired slasher that doesn’t fall into self-parody. If you go in with the right expectations you’re in for a fun, blood splattered ride.

Rating: 5/10
Links : IMDB

The Strangers: Prey At Night is now in theaters

Comic Book Movies

Joaquin Phoenix Stares Into Your Soul As The Joker Via “il venerdì di repubblica” Cover

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“Cinematic achievement on a high level.”

Director Todd Phillips has gone on the record stating, his film is going to piss off hardcore comic book fans. The upcoming ‘Joker’ movie will not follow any comic book plot lines or continuity for the villain, and will in fact be its very own stand alone film. With that being said, the movie is already garnering praise from select audiences. Cameron Bailey, co-head and artistic director of the Toronto International Film Festival, went on record with Toronto Sun, hailing the film as “Cinematic achievement on a high level.” Bailey continued on, saying:

“First of all it’s terrific. So it should play on our largest stage. But it’s a really original take on comic book movies and on the Joker character in particular. It’s not based on an existing story, it has one of the greatest actors in modern cinema, Joaquin Phoenix, in the lead, and Robert De Niro is in it as well, one of the best actors that has ever lived.”

Bailey, also went on to say, the film is “Very cinematic,” for a low budget feature.

“Has an interesting tone and approach to it. It’s set in the late ’70s, early ’80s and it feels like it was made then. It’s gritty in its look, it has references to Martin Scorsese’s filmmaking and it feels like a cinematic achievement on a high level. Although it’s working with very populist material, it has great ambition. That’s why it’s a Gala.”

Check out the newest ‘Joker’ magazine cover via il venerdì di repubblica.

‘Joker’ hits theaters October 4, 2019

 

 

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Featured

Brightburn – This Superhero Parody Peppered With SF And Horror Elements Is Simply Sublime

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Take.. The.. World.
Take the world.

Superhero-movie-haters unite. Run to a nearby movie theater to see this movie. Because “Brightburn” is the ultimate anti-superhero-film of all time. The moment I realized which direction it was going, I cursed myself because after seeing “Avengers: Endgame” I’d decided to have a little sabbatical. I was going to avoid movies with characters in tightly fitting latex suits and superhuman powers. But as it became clear that it wasn’t what I expected, my enthusiasm grew all the more. My enthusiasm for films such as “Deadpool” and “Ant-Man” (because of a touch of whimsy and the originality) was effortlessly overtaken by this highly original anti-superhero film. And if one also mixes the superhero genre (of which they are continuously producing sequels and prequels) with my all-time favorite genre horror, it simply can’t go wrong. I am indeed enthusiastic, yes. Extremely enthusiastic!

 

Brightburn

 

Is it a plane? A bird? Is it Superman? Uh, nope.

It all starts as a sort of Superman parody or reboot (another favorite Hollywood term these days). Here too, we meet a young couple who have been trying to have a child for years. Even spicy lingerie doesn’t do wonders because farmer Kyle Bryer (David Denman) (and yes, the location is again a big farm) is rather clumsy, which means that his watch always gets stuck in his wife’s hair. BANG! Before they realize it, some object out of space crashes nearby. Right in their back yard. And as if it’s the most normal thing, Tori (Elizabeth Banks) finds an innocent, sweet little guy in this comet or spacecraft. They adopt him instantly and call him Brandon (Jackson A. Dunn). All peace and light, you think. Until the boy realizes that something is wrong. Especially when he tries to start the lawnmower and suddenly the thing ends up at the neighbors. A few meadows further.

 

Brightburn

 

An evil superhero with an attitude.

With the well-known figure Superman, the parents didn’t waste any time and told young Superman to keep his growing powers under control and only use it to help humans. In the 70s this fact was acceptable. But after the trillionth superhero movie, that concept really starts to sound boring. And that’s where “Brightburn” starts to deviate substantially. As soon as it seems as if puberty hits Brandon, and no it’s not about hair growth and other side-effects, and he wanders around the farm at night looking for something that seems to call him, it becomes clear that a constructive parent-child conversation is not really useful. When Brandon feels disadvantaged, it’s best to stay away from him. The consequences of a tantrum can be disastrous. You could end up flying into a closet or have a crushed hand as a result. So they are stuck with a teenage son with issues who has superpowers. A “Dennis the Menace” with an attitude. You don’t have to be smart to know what’s going to happen next.

 

Brightburn

 

Not really horror.

Let’s talk about the horror part. For those who are only used to super-hero films, it will be a shock. For a seasoned horror fanatic, it’s all just ordinary. It’s not terrifying or too bloody. There are some excellent gore effects in it, though. I personally found it simply exciting at certain moments. Exciting as in how the story will continue and end. And they even tried to tackle that part in an original and quirky way. The majority of blockbusters always have such a predictable outcome. In a western, the bad guys always eat dust in the end. A romcom has a happy ending in most cases. And even superheroes on the verge of despair will eventually prevail (such as The Avengers, for example). If you expect this to happen here as well, you’re absolutely wrong. But there’s one thing I’m sure of. The marketing department of Marvel already smells money. I bet they are planning a sequel already with The Avengers trying to beat the unstoppable Brandon.

 

Brightburn

 

Excellent acting.

About the acting, I can be brief and concise. Simply excellent. Especially the mother and son bonding was worked out and portrayed in a proper way. The desperation and motherly love that Elizabeth Banks radiates is simply wonderful to see. And even though Brandon seems incomparably innocent at times, the moment his evil ego pops up, he can conjure up a frightening and impressive facial expression. It’s just a shame he didn’t focus his anger on the annoying class bully as well.

 

Brightburn

 

I repeat it once more: a brilliant film.

Brightburn” definitely will end up in my top list this year. The only downside was the duration. Far too short of course. But otherwise, this superhero parody, peppered with SF and horror elements, is simply sublime. The fact this film has a go-against-the-rules attitude and the idea of a superhero who doesn’t care about humanity is a pleasant and refreshing change compared to the commercial one-size-fits-all releases nowadays. Just something as simple as Brandon’s costume. Has anyone ever wondered who actually made the Spiderman suit? Or did Peter Park have a Sewing and knitting diploma? Brandon uses a piece of woolen textile and a bedspread as equipment. Ingenious anyway. As brilliant as the film itself. I keep repeating it. It is hoped that it will stay with this unique film and that they won’t come up with a miserable number of sequels.

 

My rating 9/10
Links: IMDB

 

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Action

Christopher Nolan’s ‘Tenet’ Gets First Motion Poster

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“An action epic evolving from the world of international espionage.”

Christopher Nolan’s 2020  film, ‘Tenet,’ has been shrouded in secrecy for quite some time. Recently a teaser trailer was dropped, slightly lifting the veil as to what we can expect from the highly anticipated thriller. The star studded cast includes John David Washington, Robert Pattinson, Elizabeth Debicki, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Clemence Poesy and Kenneth Branagh amongst others. The recent teaser trailer only gives a small tidbit for fans to grasp onto, showing the lines: “Time has come for a new protagonist” and “Time has come for a new kind of mission.” The trailer is said to depict Washington’s character seemingly moving in a time loop of some sort.

Many fans are going with the idea that ‘Tenet’ is some sort of ‘Inception’ sequel, which is highly unlikely. But based on the plot description, it sounds as though it could be loosely connected:

“An action epic evolving from the world of international espionage.”

Some have pointed out that Michael Caine is listed amongst the cast but is the only character returning from the original film [Inception], which went on to gross $828.3mill worldwide while being nominated for eight Oscars and bringing home four. ‘Tenet’ is set to arrive in theaters July 17, 2020

 

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