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September 2011

Prey

cast: Grégoire Colin, François Levantal, Joseph Malerba, Fred Ulysse, and Bérénice Bejo

director: Antoine Blossier

74 minutes (18) 2010
widescreen ratio 2.35:1
E One DVD Region 2

RATING: 5/10
review by James A. Stewart

Prey

A good old creature feature is the kind of thing that usually means switching off and goring out on blood, madness and animal gnashing. French horror film Prey (aka: Proie) has all of these plus a wee element of inter-family tension that adds an element of interest beyond just the terror on show.

The movie starts with what appears to be Bruce Willis' older and unfit brother David (Joseph Malerba) finding some dead deer on an electric fence, but with some curious bite marks and evidence of something more than a horrible accident at play. The opening scene involves dead animals and a creepy cornfield - the first of many corny clichés, no pun intended.

Filmed in French with English subtitles, Prey is rather short at just 74 minutes and as such gets off to a very quick start. We find out immediately that a group of industrialists have gone on a country retreat and are about to find out what their pollution has done. In the case of this film there are killer boars on the loose.

There is not really a lot that can be added to this review in respect to the style and substance of the film. It is as you would expect from a film in this genre. There are scary scenes, animals snapping people away, stupid hunters in grassy fields at night, discomforting sounds preceding attacks and a group of bad men getting their comeuppance.

The subplot and strain between some of the characters serves to give the film and added dimension the reasons for which only becomes clear near the end. It helps hold interest in what is essentially a French version of Pig Hunt, or Black Sheep, albeit the latter of these two has much more of a laugh at itself than Prey. Black Sheep wears its ridiculousness on its sleeve; Prey with its added personal melodrama wants to be taken seriously. It is the French flavour in the movie I would expect.

One surprising and laudable element of Prey is the boars themselves. They look, well, gruesome, frightening and appear to be out of the puppetry studio creations as opposed to CGI mock-ups. This adds a facet of realism to a surreal story and reminds us that CGI is good but not the be all and end all. I am sure fans of the genre will lap this up, but the lack of originality in both the subplot and the horror scenes make for an offering that is enjoyable but nothing more than cheap entertainment.



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