Monday, August 27, 2012
Technically, it IS human: The Prey (1980)
Starring: Debbie Thureson, Steve Bond and Lori Lethin
The Prey is a misunderstood, if not mishandled title for very understandable reasons. I like to start first with it's story, if there is one; inviting us with an opening theme that kinda sounds like the ones from the latter Friday the 13th movies, we a forest fire with random folks screaming in the background. Next comes our opening act that has us watching two middle-aged folks eating chow by a campfire, wherein they compliment each other by nodding. Nodding. For 4 to 5 minutes. Thankfully, the wife decided to break the awkward silence and take a walk, leaving hubby to do some wood chopping. Oh, did I mentioned someone's eyeing on these two? Well, no need, here he comes to decapitate hubby and hack to death wifey. Cheesy opening? So far so good.
Next we have a group of teens going to the woods later that morning, with us spending the next hour or so following their "adventures" which mostly involve inter-cutting between them walking and talking to footages of random wildlife. And we're treated to this pattern so surreal that it goes on and on for the remainder of our time before the hour mark, so the least these kids can do is to suggest something unexpecte-
Oh crap ,they're doing campfire tales.
The group eventually decides to sleep off for the night and when I mean sleep, I meant have sex. (Save one couple, guess the gal wasn't ready) And as always, right on cue, one of the fornicating teens hear a noise in the woods and her boyfriend steps out to investigate. Next thing we know, girl gets smothered with a sleeping bag and boy gets his throat ripped off. I think I'm starting to see the good side of this title.
So one couple less, the group ponders whether to go back and call the sheriff about their missing friends or go ahead and continue their venture into the untamed woods. As you've guessed from these dumb teens, they choose the latter, so can we blame them when the mofugly loonie finally got around to kill these kids one by one? Perhaps.
As you can see, The Prey had done some pretty oblivious direction and plotting, mainly padding the movie with fillers from a banjo piece played by our local park ranger, to said park ranger "reacting" to a dead girl for five minutes. Heck, its fillers might as well be this movie's only memorable trait compared to its very lackluster main plot! I mean, how often did we already have teens camping in the woods for no specific reason? Like, ten a year? And how often have we see them end up in a situation like this? Perhaps I should try to enjoy it as a no-brainer kill flick, right? Maybe. But for some god forsaken reason, I can't. Just can't. I guess lack of plot can sometimes be a bad thing for me.
Perhaps it's the pointless story, or the lame ending, or the obvious human killer that the tagline tries to hide, or even the movie's painstaking pacing that restrains me from giving The Prey it any higher rating, but know this, there is something I could applaud for from this movie and that's the kills. Not exactly very gory, but they're as fun as they are casual. The movie itself can thank these kills for that rating up there, even after all them drawbacks.
Casual backwoods slasher fans can actually find a good stroll in this title, at least in some bits. For the rest, I think you can do better with your slasher.
1 male decapitated with axe
1 female hacked to death with axe
1 female smothered with sleeping bag
1 male had his throat ripped open
1 male had his head twisted
1 male falls to his death after climbing rope was cut
1 female had her face slammed against a tree
1 male neck crushed