New streaming on Netflix!
Directed & written by Thomas Sieben.
Starring David Kross, Hanno Koffler, Robert Finster, Yung Ngo, Klaus Steinbacher, Maria Ehrich, Livia Matthes, Nellie Thalbach
Five guys go on a hike for a bachelor party, but unbeknownst to them, they’ve walked into the sights of a sniper with a serious hate-on for men. With a silent female hunter stalking them through the woods, these guys desperately search for someplace safe in an unforgiving environment.
While it seems to be a very common title for a film (try looking it up on IMDB), PREY proves to be a potent mix of man vs. nature and man vs. man (or woman in this case). The film is pretty simple, pitting the five guys against a sniper with a gun for most of its runtime and rarely steering far from it. PREY is guilty of being almost too simple as it doesn’t have time for nuance or subplots. Sure there is an internal conflict and then the physical one, but these two rarely converge. PREY does a decent job of making the gun-woman feel threatening even though these five guys seem perfectly capable of putting up a fight, the fact that she wields a high powered rifle evens the odds nicely. The internal conflict involving two brothers who are trying to get something from each other seems almost like an afterthought as there are flashbacks of the two interacting that fills in some of the conflict, but one would think some effort would have been made to interconnect the two threats better. In the end, this is basically about a man who decides to man-up and count on himself instead of others as he seems to be betrayed and walked all over by everyone in his life. Still, one would think using a bachelor party as a rite of passage for a man about to be married would be great fodder to play with. The threat of a woman to this group also really doesn’t work because, while these guys seem to not really like each other, most of them are pretty ok and not really deserving of the end they deserve.
Had PREY been focused on a bunch of chauvinistic jerks, I think the whole film would have been much more successful and also tie into the backstory we learn about the woman with the gun, which we learn in the clumsiest of ways. While I didn’t dislike PREY, I also think it missed a lot of great story opportunities. The acting talent was there to tackle such issues. This is a script problem where stuff just happens and then other stuff happens. There are some great shots of nature. The gore is ok, though it isn’t over the top and doesn’t stand out. In the end, PREY is not a bad film., just a thematically anemic one and one I’ll probably forget soon after I finish this review.