Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Film Review: Let Us Prey (2014)

Let Us Prey (Review)
United Kingdom/Ireland/2014
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No
*A 31 Days of Halloween Special Review!

"It's a splendid blend of suspense, jump-scares, and gore veiled in a very attractive style."

All hell breaks loose when a mysterious man known as Six (Liam Cunningham) arrives at a police station in a remote Scottish town...

Let Us Prey follows the staff and current "residents" of a small police station. The plot primarily follows Constable Rachel (Pollyanna McIntosh) during her first night on duty. Before even arriving to the precinct, Rachel witnesses a car accident, but the victim disappears. So, she walks the culprit to the station and meets her sergeant, MacReady (Douglas Russell). Soon thereafter, she meets her peers and the detainees. When Six arrives, the others begin to experience bizarre visions reflecting their sins. It fairly obvious what Six really is, but everyone is oblivious for the most part. Regardless, this ignorance allows for a thrill ride of shocks and chuckles. The story does weaken by the end, though. By the grand finale, the film begins to pile on the plot contrivances and the actual ending was unfulfulling.

I thoroughly enjoyed Let Us Prey. Conceptually, it's a very interesting film. It's not the first to ever mess with this same exact concept — I vaguely remember watching "The Traveler" with Val Kilmer, which uses the same idea — but it's executed very well. The film uses a combination of suspense, jump-scares, and gory surprises to deliver a versatile horror experience. Fortunately, it does very well with all of the above. I won't lose any sleep at night, but you don't often see horror films with this level of excitement and glam. It's truly a blood thrill-ride.

However, aside from the ending, I was also very disappointed with the lead character: Rachel. This is our utterly cliche "tough female, take shit from no one" character. I didn't hate this character, but it says a lot when the supporting cast of characters have more depth than the lead. Now, Rachel has a haunting background like the others, but her character only shows one note — brooding. Is this realistic? I suppose, but, meanwhile, the rest of crew show layers — especially MacReady,. It's just disappointing, that's all.

The acting is great, though. Although her character disappoints, Pollyanna McIntosh nails the performance. Douglas Russell and Liam Cunningham are also deviously splendid. The film looks beautiful — every frame is oozing with style. The soundtrack also matches the mood, catching the intensity of the film perfectly. The practical special effects are also wonderful. Director Brian O'Malley crafts an exciting and tense horror film with finesse — I look forward to seeing more from him. Writers David Cairns and Fiona Watson don't deviate much from the formula, but still manage to offer an interesting story with strong characters — except for the lead.

Overall, Let Us Prey is a great horror film. It's a splendid blend of suspense, jump-scares, and gore veiled in a very attractive style. The concept is familiar, but (most of) the characters offer some sinister depth to help differentiate it. It does suffer from a flawed finale and a disappointing character, but its flaws don't stop it from being entertaining. I recommend a purchase for horror fans and a stream/rental for everyone else.

Score: 7/10
 Parental Guide: Strong violence and gore, some sex.

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