It’s definitely a horror tribute to the old John Carpenter movies.
The Strangers: Prey at Night is the re-imagining of the original home invasion film 2008’s The Strangers that starred Scott Speedman, Liv Tyler and Gemma Ward. In this version, it kept the terrifying plot of random killers that chose to terrify its victims at random without reason or cause. In true fashion of slasher flicks, it was done well in the style of the slasher movies of Friday the 13th or Halloween.
This film stars Christina Hendricks, Bailee Madison, Martin Henderson, Emma Bellomy, Lewis Pullman, Lea Enslin and Damian Maffei.
LRM spoke with two of the stars from the movie—Bailee Madison and Martin Henderson. We discussed on doing a different horror movie and their character relationship in the film.
The Strangers: Prey at Night is currently playing nationwide in theaters.
Read our interview transcript below.
LRM: For both of you, what in particular attracted you folks to be in The Strangers: Prey at Night?
Martin Henderson: For me, I’m not a huge horror genre goer. I’ve only made one other horror movie. It’s been so long since I’ve done anything in that genre. I read the script and thought it was terrifying. If this is done well with the script—it would be a really effective movie. I wasn’t aware of the original at that time. So I went and saw that. I got a sense on what that movie did. I was excited on what this movie could be.
In particularly, [I talked] with Johannes [Roberts] on a Skype call with him. He just got out of the pool actually in London and his hair was sticking up like some weirdo. I thought that it freaked me out. This is up for a good start. It was a freaky director with a freaky script. He had really cool ideas on the way with the style of movie and the way he wanted to shoot it. There were films he referenced that I should go look at to know the style. Of course, the music is such a fun, odd contradiction to what’s going on in the movie.
All of those elements promised to make a really cool film.
Bailee Madison: I loved reading something that I was handed before. I spent three weeks beforehand looking for something that I wanted to do during that summer. I wasn’t connecting with any of the pieces I’ve found.[This movie] is truly smart, engaging and different. I read the script and fell in love with it. Every single character, the story itself, the horrific moments were all found to be captivating that I genuinely not turn away from and wanting to experience. It’s about emotionally and physically being bruised at the end of the day.
Like Martin said, I was able to talk to Johannes via Skype. I wanted to know him as a person and get to work with him. I was very grateful to be a part of this. Now I have people, like Martin, in my life because of this. Fortunately, it was very good on so many levels.
LRM: What makes The Strangers: Prey at Night more terrifying than any projects you’ve done before?
Bailee Madison: This is the first time I’ve done a horror film that has a human face. The last one I did was Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, which is based on a creature down in a basement. The creature terrorizes the little girl. I’ve never had the encounter of being face-to-face with [killer] people. We all know they’re the strangers, but they believe like us, cry like us and scream like us. Except that they live to prey and hunt us humans.
The idea of trying that out was pretty exciting. For me, it was so much real than anything I’ve done before, watched lately or ever felt.
Martin Henderson: [My experience] is similar. It was the element, like Bailee said, these are human beings stalking human beings. For me, it’s a little more relatable than ghosts coming through the door or spirits coming down the chimney or aliens coming out of someone’s nose. The fact that these are three random people hellbent on ending the lives on whoever unfortunate enough to cross their paths. It has such a randomness to it. It is so feasible. It could happen to anybody. It’s about being at the wrong place at the wrong time. The fact it’s possible even made more scary.
LRM: Can you two talk about the father/daughter relationship established throughout the entire movie? The characters had some drastic changes in the movie. And, did the father ever found out what a queef is? [Laughs]
Martin Henderson: [Chuckles] You can’t ask that question in front of my daughter. [Laughs] It’s really awkward right now.
Bailee Madison: Well, the first question can be answered. I think it was fun to play the little beef between us. I remembered the scene with Martin and I on the couch. He was just playing around with it. There were so many different heartbreaking takes that you were able to roll with it. It was just trying to get Kinsey to just pay attention for a second. For Kinsey, her dad is the only parental figure that she’ll let her get through to her sometimes. Her mom is a straight on no, but her dad is able to get to her. So that moment he couldn’t get to her on the couch and she pushes him away—it was heartbreaking. That was the last moment of them together before the strangers come after them.
Martin was so great in establishing in giving so many options to play off of. Chemistry is a very important part of it all. I would love for you to jump in.
Martin Henderson: Yeah, I will.
Bailee Madison: I’ll let him answer that second question. [Laughs]
Martin Henderson: We think that element of the story is really important. In my mind, it sets up for the audience to see into these people’s inner lives. You’ll get a sense of appreciation for what they’re struggling with as a family. There’ll be some empathy towards them when the horror elements start happening—we’re all invested in them as a unit. You would be rooting for them.
Just like Bailee said, the scenes with my character and Kinsey showed on what a lot of parents would identify with. You have these children. They’re your little babies. They’re so dependent on you. You are there for so much of their lives. Then they are necessarily pulling away. And often, they’ll rebel as in the case of the Kinsey character. She was quite rebellious and exerting her own will. It’s heartbreaking to see that relationship that the parents wanted to hold on and maintain. It’s nice to have that character stuff into a story like this.
I think we’re out of time and I’m not able to answer your second question. [Laughs]
LRM: Let me throw in one quick last question, would you answer the door if someone knocked on your door today?
Bailee Madison: Yeah. I do it all the time. My mom actually yells at me about that. After this whole time, you think after doing a movie like this—I shouldn’t. If someone knocks, yeah I would.
Martin Henderson: In a trailer park, I would not. I would not got to the door.
Bailee Madison: But, for Uncle Marv and Aunt Cherly. Maybe they were asleep and now they saw that we were in. Maybe she thought it was…..
Martin Henderson: Uncle Marv coming over for a glass of beer. But, you’re asking after now doing the movie—would we?
LRM: Yes. That’s right.
Bailee Madison: Oh. Well, I would still answer the door. Maybe next time I’ll peek through the little hole in the wall. [Laughs]
LRM: Thank you so much. I appreciate it.
The Strangers: Prey at Night will be playing in theaters nationwide today.
Source: Exclusive to LRM