Prey (2019) – movie review

Prey / YouTube

If you’ve been on this website a couple of times before this article, there’s a chance you’ve read my rants against Blumhouse in light of the minimal effort they seem to put in the majority of horror films they distribute.

Although I stand by my statement, upon thinking over this issue for a bit longer I came to the conclusion that Blumhouse also allows indie and first-time filmmakers to get a budget and have the opportunity to start a career. This is commendable onto its own, but it also provided us horror fans with the opportunity to watch films like Get Out, Bloodline and Stephanie (to name a few); besides, Blumhouse is responsible for some amazing non-horror pictures like Whiplash (which is literally a masterpiece), Upgrade and BlacKkKlansman.

At this point, I’m more open-minded towards Blumhouse Production and, although cautious, I approach their films with a bit more hope than I used to. Prey is the latest Blumhouse horror movie: it follows a teenager named Toby (Logan Miller) and it’ll be available on digital from October 28th (and on DVD from November 4th).

Prey is an interesting mix of survival horror and adventure where Toby, who witnesses his father being murdered and suffers from consequent behavioural issues, is placed on an uninhabited island in order to improve his ways. However, despite being told he is in isolation, he soon realises he is not alone, teaming up with Madeleine (Kristine Froseth, Apostle), as they are pursued by a deadly entity.

Continue reading and check my final grade below… 

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My review is also available on IMDb – Prey (2019)

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This film is woven around a concept that, on paper, has a lot of potential. Director Frank Khalfoun (P2 and Maniac) is a competent filmmaker. Prey certainly has its moments. Overall, though, this is not a good movie.

The main issue with Prey is that the movie is largely uneventful. Aside from the opening scene – which is poorly executed in terms of acting, visuals and editing – there are only two moments of action in the first hour of this 84-minute-long picture. The problem is that the script dismisses character development by introducing the island early on: instead, building the character of Toby throughout the first act would’ve made him (and therefore what happens to him during the runtime) much more compelling.

In fact, Toby barely is a character. He wonders around the island and tries to survive the experience, all the while working to figure out whether the entity that’s pursuing him and Madeleine is real or not. Prey makes up for the lack of engaging elements with the overuse of jump-scares, which are added in post-production with the usual reliance on bad sound-effects.

Besides, the movie introduces characters – with no personality – out of nowhere just to propel the story. This is particularly jarring because you, as an audience member, don’t know who they are, why they appear and what’s the point of their inclusion in this picture.

As though the characters (for luck of a better word) weren’t bad enough, the acting is, unfortunately, abysmal. Whether this is down to bad casting or poor communication between director and actors, the result is a movie where everyone delivers their lines in a laughable, unconvincing and stilted way.

However, this is not a completely hopeless horror flick. The third act (i.e. the last 15 minutes or so) is quite exciting and features nice gore, some cool violence, mild tension, a couple of genuine scares. Had Prey been well-made and interesting from the get-go, the grand finale would’ve been way more impactful.

Also, you can tell Frank Khalfoun has some talent behind the camera – even though he lost it for a while when he was filming Amytiville: The Awakening – because Prey looks competently shot and well-lit from beginning to end. The set-design is also rather creative and effective, and works well in combination with the neat cinematography.

This IMDb user sums up perfectly my final thoughts on the movie:

Prey 1

Whether you’d like to check it out or not is, as always, up to you.

Prey                                        4/10

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