‘Don’t close your eyes’
Prey is a 2019 American horror-thriller about a high school senior with behavioural issues who is placed on a seemingly uninhabited island but soon finds he is not alone.
Directed by Franck Khalfoun (Amityville: The Awakening; Maniac; P2) from a screenplay co-written with David Coggeshall (Starfall; Scream: The TV series; The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia), the movie stars Logan Miller, Kristine Froseth (Apostle), Jolene Anderson (The Dust Walker; Living Space), Vela Cluff and Phodiso Dintwe (The Cul De Sac series).
Prey jumps jarringly from the opening scene of a murder with little explanation as to what is developing and certainly no narrative flow. Once on the island, the viewer is expected to suspend disbelief to a ridiculous degree in terms of Toby’s change from being a useless youth to a hunter-gatherer. Events then become painfully drawn out and contrived until a conclusion that raises a smile yet still no scares. After some initially impressive photography, Prey also loses whatever style it began with and becomes like an extended TV episode. Ultimately, it’s a shame Prey is so vapid because the concept seemed initially promising.
Franck Khalfoun now seems out to lunch after his glorious Maniac remake. Perhaps Blumhouse needs to rein in the number of multiple projects they are involved in and actually focus on what works, such as their generally well-regarded ‘Into the Dark’ series of features on Hulu? There comes a point when you can only sell so much inferior ‘product’ with the Blumhouse name attached to it; the devalue is continuing apace.
Adrian J Smith, MOVIES & MANIA
Other reviews [may contain spoilers]:
“Alas, when the plot is finally explained, the details aren’t quite as compelling as the cryptic set-up preceding it. Not to betray the story in full, but a demonic subplot comes to light in a way that adheres to the ancient traditions of nature and deified animal life the earlier part of the film explores. When the demonic entity appears onscreen, the visual representation resembles a ferocious feline with razor claws that we haven’t quite seen before.” Arrow in the Head
“From the start, this ridiculous horror-suspense movie is fraught with nonsense and a head-scratching lack of logic; though it eventually goes crazily over the top, it’s too late to care […] The entire setup for Prey, all of the bizarre antics required to get Toby to his island, is beyond slapdash.” Common Sense Media
“Movies structured this predictably are commonly called “paint-by-numbers,” except “Prey” has only dull shades of grey on its palette. The kindest cut I can give it is to say Prey is fully functional as a formulaic fright film. At the same time though, it’s also wholly forgettable.” Culture Crypt
“If I had to choose one word to describe this one, I’d use forgettable. While true originality is hard to come by nowadays, there is always an innovative way to approach a concept. Unfortunately, this film failed to deliver anything new or interesting.” HNN
” …the film offers several scares and surprises. Unfortunately, they remain too few and far between, likely leaving audiences wishing for more.” Irish Film Critic
“Prey might seem unfocused and uncertain, but to be fair, the filmmakers know exactly what they want their movie to be by the third act. The movie they want it to be, though, just isn’t that involving, that scary, or of a piece with what has come before it.” Mark Reviews Movies
“It dabbles briefly with Toby’s crushing feelings of guilt before rushing straight into the perplexing mysteries of the island […] Let’s just say this a plot with a lot tossed in the bag and it’s supremely weird because of it, the film never really finding any sense of authenticity to its premise nor successfully making it work as an allegory for something else.” That Moment In
“This is the kind of movie that seems to lay out exactly what it is right away before zigzagging all over the place entertainingly. It’s a lot of fun, but never in a knowing way, and the different setting makes much of its dodgier moments sit easier.” Wicked Horror
Cast and characters:
- Jolene Anderson … Mother
- Vela Cluff … Young Madeleine
- Phodiso Dintwe … Cameron
- Kristine Froseth … Madeleine
- Anthony Jensen … Toby’s Dad
- Logan Miller … Toby