Let us Prey (Horror, 2014) (18) D: Brian O’Malley W: David Cairns C: Liam Cunningham, Pollyanna McIntosh, Bryan Larkin, Hanna Stanbridge, Niall Greig Fulton. 1h 28m. UK, Scotland.
Synopsis : Held in a remote police station, a mysterious stranger takes over the minds and souls of everyone inside.
This is another “when a stranger comes to town” style thriller, it’s likable under powered attempt as The Exorcist III (1989) styled Needful Things (1993). It has great production and a brilliant retro nouveau style in the small nocturnal confines of a remote police station. It’s a fragile thriller with a hint of mystery in the guise of “the man” (Liam Cunningham) but it’s not really scary,but serious enough on the gore to deliver a bit of suspense and the odd bloody shock, sadly it doesn’t deliver in the bravado department, there is no major showdown when this movie could have stepped things up at certain points it simply backs away.
The idea seems based on loosely on the same theme as Needful Things (1993) except this mysterious stranger offers nothing in return for showing the inhabitants of the hushed police station; their darker secrets and exposing their carnal sides. After an stirring Gothic fashioned intro, the stranger, Six (Cunningham) descends upon a sleepy unsuspecting village police station in the early hours and without delay starts terrorising the inhabitants. Including newly appointed PC Heggie (McIntosh), who’s already going through a hazing from her colleagues. Hanna Stanbridge returns in after the success of her sleazy character in the occult thriller Outcast (2010), while McIntosh looks a lot cleaner than her (almost) silent role in Woman (2011). Cunningham doesn’t have to do much, except look mysterious in the darkness and operate his silver tongue.
After scaring the police officers and firmly locked in his cell, Six, manages to talk a neighboring inmate into killing himself in a vicious manner akin to Hannibal Lecter vs Multiple Miggs; Soon, Six begins to direct his attentions to PC Heggie and flirts with her innocence, while systematically destroying every “good” person around him, the taboo relationship between two fellow cops and misdemeanors of a young car crazy lad soon get set aside for the bigger picture of trying to stop this bizarre stranger who carries a mysterious notebook, almost as confusing at the random scribbling as Ralph Fiennes notebook in Spider (2002). With edgy flashbacks of abuse from Heggie’s past; who starts to get frantic as the movie progresses until the final eureka moment. Where she finally remembers shes supposed to the heroine of the movie.
There are a few gory scenes forced in throughout the film, cameo’s that tell about various back stories leading up until this nights arrival of Six. The film fails to really get off the ground, even when the action heats up it’s then subdued by slo mo, there is a slightly tense soundtrack but nothing all that memorable. There is a heavy psychological buzz to make up for the lack of viewing the full carnage, and the film doesn’t know where it wants to make it’s bed, gore or psychological? There is an interesting lighting technique used throughout the movie, slightly resembling a stage play, lots of low lights painting colours in the background. A lot seems to have been done to keep the scenes very hushed and calm.
Ending with a debatable finale, it’s really up to the viewer what they really want to take away from this battle of good and evil present here. Let us Prey is a fine design, but a mere rough draft of a much greater movie, but as it is, a lot is just simply absent.
Rating – 6/10
R: The Exorcist III (1989) , Needful Things (1993), Law Abiding Citizen (2009),Outcast (2010)
V: Overall there is a murky religious theme running through this movie, it has a few bursts of inspiration but otherwise it’s really easy to cast it off as a wannabe exorcist horror. There is a good story there.. somewhere, it feels that more was put into the production of the movie than really intensify the story line. It’s still a good attempt and makes for an OK watch.
Q : “this is a one horse town”
“And now it’s a pale fucking horse”
OST: Nothing to note.
TIL : you don’t need a huge orchestrated ending to make a good film.
BS : I did quite enjoy the slow motion death dealing near the end of the film, but what captured my attention was the small clips of still life around the station, the old style clock ticking away the enchantment of the quiet calm atmosphere.
5B : Liam Cunningham
L: when a stranger comes to town, great intros part two, Selected Scottish films.
PD : Coming soon