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Exclusive: Director Johannes Roberts talks 'The Strangers: Prey at Night'
By Jemal Polson, Tuesday 1st May 2018

This weekend sees the release of a long-awaited sequel to one of 2008's most beloved slasher films. Yes, nine whole years after The Strangers premiered, UK cinema-goers will be met once again by Dollface, the Man in Mask and Pin-Up Girl in The Strangers: Prey at Night.

Starring Mad Men's Christina Hendricks, Bailee Madison, Martin Henderson, and Lewis Pullman, son of the late Bill, the film sees a family of four being stalked and tormented shortly after arriving on what was supposed to be a quiet family trip to a remote mobile home. The family must decide whether to take on the dreaded strangers hell-bent on wreaking havoc, or to run for their lives.

We had a chat with the film's director, Johannes Roberts (who also directed 49 Metres Down, The Other Side of the Door and Storage 24) about bringing the story to screen, what scares him the most, and his next project.

HC: You go way back with Horror and actually produced something for us in 2006. Can you tell us about the project, When Evil Calls?

JR:[Laughs] It ended my career for about 4 years! It was the world's first series for mobile phones, before smartphones. But it's also the world's last... People didn't know what the technology was gonna be [like]. We had to come up with a whole new cinematic language because the screens were so... they weren't smartphones. You couldn't shoot too close, [because] it wouldn't mean anything, but you couldn't shoot too wide either. It was kinda fun but the technology wasn't there.

HC: Strangers Prey at Night was originally due to come out in 2009. What took it so long to come to screens?

JR: It was just one of those things that got caught up in development hell, and then movies like The Purge sort of took everything from that movie. I think people felt it was kinda languishing really.

HC: Who's your favourite character in the film?

JR: Bailee [Madison]'s character Kinsey was a really good, but I just love the Man in the Mask.

HC: There are so many horror films that have alternative endings, and this film is no exception. Is that something you do to stop spoilers from getting out or is it something you love to do and think the genre celebrates?

JR: Neither actually - we shot the film and tested it, and I just felt like the ending wasn't quite landing. We had to do a few pickups anyway, so we just tried an alternate ending to see if it worked. I only ever shoot for what I need. It was really just because I didn't feel like we quite nailed it.

HC: We see a lot of weapons used throughout the film - what's the one weapon or death you haven't used in your films you'd be looking to make an appearance in a future title of yours?

JR: [laughs] I don't know. My next movie is set all in coffins and I've never done a buried alive.

HC: Who would you love to work with who you haven't already?

JR: Sam Neill, cause I absolutely love In the Mouth of Madness, and Kyle Chandler - cause I loved Friday Night Lights, and I keep trying to engineer a project for him [to star in].

HC: Last of all what scares you the most?

JR: Spiders!

The Strangers: Prey At Night opens in cinemas across the UK, Friday 4th May.


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