Upon its release back in 2008, home invasion horror The Strangers was a certified box office hit - so why did it take ten years for The Strangers: Prey At Night to get made? The sequel was first announced in August 2008, and in March 2009 it was reported that French director Laurent Briet was in talks to direct. Ultimately, however, The Strangers 2 ended up falling victim to a classic case of development hell.
For those whose memories of the original may be misty, The Strangers was written and directed by Bryan Bertino, and starred Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman as a couple who stay in a friend's summer home, and are beset by three masked killers. As with the sequel, The Strangers was marketed as being "based on true events" - primarily inspired by accounts of the Manson Family murders. It grossed $82 million worldwide with a production budget of just $9 million, so a sequel seemed inevitable.
However, things moved slowly. A little more than a year after Briet first entered negotiations to direct, Bloody-Disgusting reported that Relativity Media was "extremely close" to moving forward on the sequel, and that the script for The Strangers: Part II was set in an abandoned trailer park. Briet was still attached to direct as of January 2011, when Bloody-Disgusting reported that there were tentative plans to begin filming in April 2011, though also noting that, "There have been a slew of false starts over the past 2 years." Obviously, this turned out to be yet another false start.
When we next heard about The Strangers 2, in January 2015, TheWrap reported that Briet was out and Marcel Langenegger (Deception) was reportedly in talks to direct. It was also at this point that co-writer Ben Netai (The Forest) joined the project. In December 2015, The Strangers 2 finally got a release date - set for December 2nd, 2016. However, the movie was later removed from Relativity's schedule, and it wasn't until February 2017 that things finally started moving ahead on the version of the movie that's out this week.
U.K. film financier and production company The Fyzz Facility announced plans to produce The Strangers 2, with Johannes Roberts (who also directed The Fyzz Facility's shark horror 47 Meters Down) set to direct and production to begin in summer 2017. Finally, this time, the production plans actually went ahead, using a script by Bertino and Netai and starring Christina Hendricks, Bailee Madison, Martin Henderson and Lewis Pullman as the unfortunate family who are attacked by the Strangers in the deserted trailer park.
Thanks to a strong trailer set to the cheery tunes of Tiffany's 1987 hit "I Think We're Alone Now," The Strangers: Prey At Night seems set to have a good weekend at the box office. Let's hope it's been worth the wait!
- The Strangers: Prey at Night (2018) release date: Mar 09, 2018