Saturday, May 15, 2010

PREY (2007) (a review)


PREY (2007) (a review)

A bad, bad movie with a cool concept. Really bad. In fact I'm debating recutting the movie and changing the dialog and renaming it as "Prey, Pray, Pway" and releasing it as a comedy because this movie is really, really close to being hilarious.

The story: a newly married woman takes her husband's two child from his last marriage on an African safari, but after an accident find themselves being hunted by a pack of lions.

So how was it?

Bad. Really, really bad. And what makes it so much worse is that there seems to be a lot going for it. It's a great little concept -- a safari gone bad, a family hunted by lions. Awesome. And they got a could good actors with Peter Weller (go Robocop!) and Bridgit Moynahan. The story starts out okay: the couple on happy vacation, but the eldest girl is still angry about her parent's divorce and takes it out on her father's new wife. The husband has to work the next day, so the new wife and daughter and son go one a day safari, made incredibly uncomfortable by the daughter's constant barbs at the new wife. Now, that angry daughter angle isn't great but it isn't horrible. It isn't great because it's predicable and doesn't have anything in it we haven't seen, but it does the job of adding an element to the movie and making the characters something less than stick figures. Where the movie fails -- and badly at that, I might add -- is once the concept really kicks in on the safari. Now, how good this movie is will be all about how convincing the lion-stalking works is. In JAWS, the shark scenes are fantastic and the movie is awesome. In PREY the lion attacks are laughable. They are done in ways that are so cheesy and sophomoric that it's hard to believe that it wasn't made as a comedy. First there's the "lion vision." It's this cheesey pseudo-night vision so that we can feel what it's like to be the lion. Wow. Or maybe it's this cheap attempt to add some tension since the scenes where you actually see the lions are mainly lame. Then there's the fact that the characters are so stupid that they can't open a car door. Seriously. There are at least four scene where people are being chased by lions and the people in the car can't get the door open. Seriously. FOUR. Now maybe I'd let it slide once -- hey, a lion is attacking so there is a certain about of stress -- but FOUR? And each time it just feels more and more stupid -- and by stupid I mean both the movie and the characters. I mean, isn't the whole "can't open the door" the most overused cliche in thriller/horror movies? So wouldn't you want to AVOID it? Certainly, you wouldn't want to use it FOUR TIMES. Unless of course you are making a comedy because by the fourth time I was howling with laughter at this thing. And there's so much more -- the lame lion attacks, the cliche of the father going to a hunter who doesn't want to help him but does, and the fact that once the attack happens every character acts as stupidly as humanly possible. For instance, their guide is killed when they stop the car so the young son can go to the bathroom. Fine. And of course he took the keys with him because...well, I don't know why. Then they are trapped in the car and it literally a full day before they try to get the keys from the dead guide. Seriously? It takes them a full day? Once they survive that first lion attack by hiding in the car, wouldn't the first plan be to get the keys? And then when they do get the keys (but just barely because of course the lions have been lying in wait for them) the woman's instinct is to just keep driving as fast as possible even though they are off road and she has no idea where they are going until she wreaks the car. Wow. Some filmmakers just love those cliches. They just love making their characters act as stupidly as possible.

Even the angle of the daughter and new mom really doesn't pan out to anything. Because in a movie like this you wouldn't expect follow-thru on anything.

Seriously, this is one of the lamest movies-with-Hollywood-actors I've ever seen.

*** AVOID (unless you want to watch it as a comedy) ****

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