The season of Halloween is slowly beginning to creep its way into our lives, and I could not be happier for that. And it makes for a nice time to check out new horror films as well as old. Today’s review for “Let Us Prey” is one that not a gem, but still deserves a view.
A joint venture between the Scotish and Irish Film Boards, it starts with an Officer on her first day entering a small and rural Police Station. It is clear from the on-set that her co-workers shelter some pretty messed up shit and intimidating personalities, all of which is only heightened with the arrival of a mysterious man named Six. He is brought in to the cells where he uses some unknown power to influence and torture the fellow inmates. What began as a tough first day becomes a desperate battle for survival when everyone around her is collapsing into violence.
The basis for the story had me genuinely interested, it felt like something I had seen before, but twisted and blurred to the point where I could’t recognise the similarities. We have the heroine who is holding back some dark secret, thrust into the worst situation and characters possible. And n the middle of it all is the villain, a supposed observer that is setting the events which happen to achieve some higher goal. Hey, at least it isn’t just a cookie-cutter recipe for the plot.
The first act sets up each of the characters, and lays in the mystery of who this stranger is. We know he is a threat, but not to what exact extent. It is in the second act then that we see the shit go down, with the horrible past being brought unwanted to the present and showing the these people are pretty horrible despite the uniforms. Everything in on a simmer that starts to boil over the edge, and then set the cooker on fire after that in the finale.
Liam Cunningham as Six puts in a very enjoyable and spooky performance. He carries the silent terror, knowing dread, and presence very well, adding some substance to what could have been a very procedural story. I also liked Pollyana McIntosh as PC Rachel. She has a no-frills personality that is set in cold steel, but manages to play this off to an engaging level.
But, this does remain a low budget movie, and you can kind of see the seams in the patchwork now and then. They had great ideas set up, but the demand was maybe a little too much. The fire effects in the final act looked poor, the bloody gore is cut away from too quickly, and some of the story elements feel confused in implementation. You can see the ambition but also the thought that more investment would have seen it through a lot better.
Still though, it is better for a movie to be ambitious than to be lazy, so I can still see all the good things this movie did. It may be very Indie Horror and one that may be demoted to the bottom shelf, but I found myself enjoying it from start to end. The practical effects were a lot of fun and had plenty of cringe-away moments, the script is relatively solid, the villain is so entertaining to watch, and there’s a satisfying dark shadow hanging over everything that takes place. It isn’t going to be a hit, but you won’t be disappointed you watched it either.
Thanks for reading!