Director: Oscar D’Roccster, and George Miller.
Writers: John V. Soto and Robert Lewis Galinsky.
Prey is a film from the production company Top Cat Films, which will release on DVD July 13, 2010. The film is known as The Outback in North America and the screener that was sent to this reviewer was actually from Top Cat Films. This is likely one company that wants its initial investment in this horror failure back. A quick note is required here to inform readers that Prey, despite what some sites states, was directed by the Queensland born George Miller (The Aviator, Frozen Assets) who walked out on the film in post-production (Scary). Director D’Roccster (likely a fake name) walked in to a cluster f*&^ of a film, which did not adhere to John V. Soto’s (Crush) original script in anyway, shape, or form. The result is an incoherent, very loosely connected story about and ancient “Aboriginal sacred site” (Top Cat). This skimpy plot synopsis is not provided via watching the film, but instead through Top Cat’s press release. Otherwise, next to nothing about this film would be understood by this still perplexed filmlover. One thing is clear, however; this is one poorly made film with the song during the credits one of the only redeeming qualities of the film. Thank God this film finally ended!
The Australian horror review site Scary Minds sums up Prey better than the film deserves: “the movie has atrocious dialogue, acting that your local community drama group wouldn’t accept, an altogether ridiculous plot that can’t be taken seriously, topped off by more plot holes than you would want to poke a stick at.” This is an overly kind statement and a testament to the writer’s patience and ability to withstand cinema induced torture. Now that the tone of the review has been set, on with the review!
Prey begins with an overworked American stockbroker who desires a weekend of fun and sun in the Australian outback. This wealthy industrialist brings along his five cardboard cut-out friends including: the token gay, the hippie, the bi-curious exotic femme fatale, the optimistic hero, and the stereotypical Ozzie redneck. All six characters get stuck in Australia’s version of Groundhog day as all paths lead to purposeless murder. The body count mounts, the attention drifts and soon the film comes to a painful, inconclusive, thankful close. Cue credits, yeah!
The press release for the film states that the script is based on “a North American couple who disappeared in the West Australian desert on a 4WD holiday” (Top Cat). However, there is no way to confirm this as no actual names are listed and the synopsis on the release is full of generalizations. What is apparent in the writing or directing of the film is that someone got lazy. The horror film site Scary Minds repeats this point by describing Prey as a “confused, sub standard, lazy arsed movie.” Characters are not given any backstory and treated without any respect. When the characters begin to pop-off through snake-bites sandstorms etc. viewers will likely be thinking who cares? The story is not explained earlier nor later and the film actually feels like a series of good ideas for a rock video that got used for a feature length the film. The film fails to maintain cohesion, create connections in the story, nor develop more than one of the characters outside of Kate (Natalie Bassingthwaite).
The directing of the film is actually much in line with a poorly shot music video and despite some stellar lighting displays the film fails to utilize any ingenuity in camera angles, pacing, nor editing. The film manages to follow a mostly linear format with some previous happenings incorporated with a black and white lens. Otherwise, the film’s directing can be summed up succinctly with one word, dumb. There is nothing intelligent about he execution of the film especially in the first twenty minutes, which is often used as a hook. There is no hook here: “Prey lets our attention wander, instead of gripping it” (Cine). Instead, there is confusion and Miller’s poor directing style “it looked to me like he [Miller] took way too many drugs at film school and went buck naked wild with the filters and effects in an effort to convince us that he could make a movie” (Scary). The director does in fact seem to have ingested some type of hallucinogen as the lighting and visuals along with some musical titles are the only element enhanced in the film.
This film cannot be recommended on any level. The soundtrack which is sparse at best is one redeeming quality that cannot save this shipwreck of a film. Coming to DVD shortly, Prey is one film best left to collect dust when a horror film is meant to inspire a rush of blood, or excitement. Pass on this title and check out John V. Soto’s much better film, Crush or the upcoming Australian horror title Needle.
Overall: 3.5 out of 10 (the film maintains lighting, keeps the camera on, and there is no dubbing, but the directing, or misinterpretation of the writing killed this film).
The official Prey site:
Prey Homepage (North America)
Prey is on Facebook (notice the “Prey is Gay” title in the URL):
Prey on Facebook
An excellent hilarious review of the film at Scary Minds:
Prey Reviewed at Scary Minds
A review of Prey by Andrew L. Urban at Urban Cinefile:
Prey Reviewed at Urban Cinefile