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Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Review: Prey

Director: Frank Khalfoun
Screenplay: David Coggeshall and Frank Khalfoun
Year: 2019

In this production from Hyde Park Entertainment, Tremendum Pictures, and Blumhouse Productions we have a young man in an isolated island where a creature stalks and hunts. This could seem like a “Predator” rip-off, but nothing further away from reality. Instead of trained and muscular, the protagonist is incompetent and weak, decreasing its probabilities of surviving on its own in a hostile environment with a creature.

In “Prey”, Toby, after losing his father, decides to go to a deserted island to reflect on the event and try to get over his grief. What should have been a reflective stay, turns into a fight for survival when Toby realizes that the island is not isolated and that a dangerous creature inhabits it. With the help of Madeleine, a young girl that lives there, he tried to discover what goes on there while trying to escape the island alive.

One of the first things to jump out of “Prey” is how it’s edited. From the initial scenes, the importance given to this process can be seen, with interesting retrospectives and a fun conversation of the protagonist with himself. The quality of this process is maintained throughout the whole movie but is in the first and final scenes where it is more useful for the story development in the way of exposition.

The pacing is one of the things that was not well done in this movie. Once Toby reaches the island, the rhythm drops on the intensity and the development takes a long time, to later gain intensity towards the final scenes. The ending makes the slow development worthwhile, offering unexpected moments and a creature that is scary and that looks great, but it does take time and patience to get there. In these moments when the story drops the rhythm, it can be seen how Logan Miller (“Escape Room”) carries the movie in his shoulder whit his interpretation of Toby and helps keep the viewer engaged.

The screenplay of David Coggeshall (“The Haunting in Connecticut 2”) and Frank Khalfoun (“Maniac”) tries to experiment with too many topics and just manages to create plenty of plot holes. If you can ignore these lot holes and the lack of exposition about the characters until some key scenes, the survival and supernatural story is a compelling one, elevated with some emotive topics that look to mold the actions of the protagonist. On a similar track, much importance is given to surprises and turns, more successfully than with other elements.

“Prey” is an interesting proposal but errs in never finding its true identity. It tried to tackle the topics of grief and coupling with a loss, survival in a remote place and possession and paranormal creatures, but it never devotes to any of these. The third act is where it really shows its potential and while it is intense and fun, it doesn’t get to tie all these topics in a coherent way.




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