Arguably more so than any other genre of film, horror has always been an easy target for sequels. This is partly due to the fact that most horror films don’t cost that much, so when one is really successful, studios often see instant dollar signs in the idea of expanding that hit into a franchise with a small investment and large return. Another factor is that the horror audience tends to be very loyal, sticking with series through thick and thin, as evidenced by the double digit long Children of the Corn and Amityville franchises.
With the above said, it’s all the more surprising that it’s taken this long for 2008 sleeper hit home invasion horror flick The Strangers to get a follow-up. Made on a modest — by Hollywood standards — $9 million budget, The Strangers starred Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman as a married couple thrust into a terrifyingly simple, but unbelievably dangerous situation. The two characters are menaced in their own secluded home by a trio of demented intruders, all wearing creepy masks. The film would go to earn over $82 million worldwide, despite mixed reviews from critics.
Despite all that success, only recently was The Strangers 2 confirmed, and in many ways, it feels less like a sequel and more like an alternate take on the same concept. The story is set in a new location, the cast is entirely new, and it’s not entirely clear whether there will be strong narrative ties to the first film, outside of the killers themselves. However, said new cast is indeed beginning to fill out, as Deadline reports that former Mad Men star Christina Hendricks has joined the project, along with Bailee Madison (Once Upon a Time), and Lewis Pullman (son of Independence Day star Bill Pullman).
It’s unclear as yet exactly which characters Hendricks, Madison, and Pullman will play in The Strangers 2, which sees a traveling family stop for the night at a secluded mobile home park, only to be accosted by a familiar trio of masked attackers after the power suddenly goes out. Considering the age difference between Hendricks and the other two actors, one assumes she might be playing the mom of the aforementioned family unit.
Another big change for The Strangers 2 is that original director Bryan Bertino won’t be returning to the job. In his place is up and coming genre director Johannes Roberts, who drew attention last year with supernatural effort The Other Side of the Door, and will soon return to theaters with shark thriller 47 Meters Down. Bertino’s influence won’t be entirely absent though, as he penned the script for the sequel, hopefully preserving at least some measure of connection between the two movies.