We Used to be Happy

Prey Review

Prey poster

Many years ago, a group of up-and-coming filmmakers were deemed The Splat Pack. Whether this title was official or not, the group consisted of some of the most promising directors, many of whom went on to be pretty damn successful. The likes of Rob Zombie, Eli Roth, James Wan, and Alexandre Aja, to name a few, also had their own frequent collaborators whom I also decided to follow over the years. Still making movies today, Frank Khalfoun was one of the writers associated closely with the pack. Is his latest film, Prey, worthy of being mentioned among the rest of the group’s notable work?

The Plot

After the tragic murder of his father, guilt stricken Toby (Logan Miller, Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse) is now a part of a “Lost and Found” program. For the final stage of the program, he must spend three days and three nights alone on a secluded island. Toby quickly learns, however, that the island is not as uninhabited as he was made to believe. Now, he must survive his stay with someone or something watching his every move.

My Thoughts

As I’ve already mentioned, Franck Khalfoun is a filmmaker who I’ve followed for some time now. His first film, 2007’s P2, remains one of my favorite films to this day, and while I’ve enjoyed a handful of his other projects, I’ve been waiting patiently for the next great one!

*Image courtesy of Think Jam and Cinedigm

As soon as I learned of another project with Khalfoun at the helm, my excitement once again grabbed hold of me. I knew I had to see Prey as soon as possible, and I am happy to report that it was a pretty fun watch, overall.

Borrowing elements from multiple horror sub-genres, Prey is survival horror meets slasher meets supernatural creature feature.

As our main protagonist, Toby, played rather impressively by Logan Miller, comes up against more and more obstacles on the secluded island he’s been deserted upon, the audience are met with steadily increasing amounts of tension. As an viewer, you aren’t sure if the biggest threats are coming from the harsh elements, the wildlife, or something much more sinister.

After his first night on the island, Toby learns of the presence of another person seemingly stranded. Madeleine, portrayed by Kristine Froseth (Apostle), has evidently been living on the small island for quite some time, making easy work out of tracking and killing animals for a day’s meal and tending to Toby’s wounds. As Toby learns more of Madeleine and her past, it made clear that perhaps there is more here than meets the eye.

Franck Khalfoun and co-writer David Coggeshall (The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia) do a rather good job of keeping the viewer guessing as to what is really at stake here, while staying within the confines of their PG-13 rating. There are enough twists and even a red herring or two to keep the casual fan and horror aficionado alike on their toes throughout the film’s 85 minutes.

*Image courtesy of Think Jam and Cinedigm

Prey‘s more supernatural elements are presented using a combination of both practical and digital effects. While the VFX aren’t the greatest I’ve seen, they are still good enough to keep the story moving smoothly.

Because of the PG-13 rating, there isn’t much on-screen violence to speak of. Still, the body count is higher than one would expect from a film that takes place on a supposedly uninhabited island. This helps to cushion the blow of not seeing all that much of the gore that most horror fans pay for.

Prey at Home

There doesn’t seem to be any Blu-ray for the film in sight, but it is currently available on DVD from Cinedigm. The home release of this Blumhouse production is presented in a letterbox widescreen format and features an English language 5.1 Dolby Digital audio track with optional English Closed Caption and SDH subtitles.

Unfortunately, the DVD is a barebones one with no bonus material whatsoever. I would have loved to see some behind-the-scenes interviews and effects featurettes, but alas, I am out of luck.

The Verdict

While Prey does not manage to topple P2 from the top spot of Franck Khalfoun’s body of work, it does rank closer to the top of the list than some of his other projects.

Prey features a talented cast and an original story that takes place in a unique setting, one that isn’t utilized in horror enough… unless of course we are talking about jungles of the old school Italian cannibal flicks!

Flashbacks to Toby’s youth, bonding with his late father, provide a little more character development. These scenes also add a little more substance to the authenticity of Toby’s skills, which seem to be perfected too quickly for someone who was only stranded on an island for a few days.

If you’re a fan of supernatural flicks and monster movies and don’t mind watching a PG-13 movie here and there, Prey is a great one to check out. I recommend giving it at least one watch, as I give it 3 jungle deathtraps out of 5.

2 Responses to We Used to be Happy

  1. Andrew Roby says:

    I’ve been meaning to check this out. Looks like I’ll have to now!

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