Let Us Prey
Scottish horror film Let Us Prey draws the viewer into its bloody grips from the start, with an intriguing opening few scenes. Despite the promising introduction, jittery dialogue and stiff performances release any suspense built.
Pollyanna McIntosh plays PC Rachel Heggie, a rookie cop starting her first night shift at the station, where difficult coworkers turn out to be the least of her problems. Liam Cunningham plays the unnamed catalyst of gore, bringing retribution on both police and prisoners in a Saw-like moral crusade. The film delves into the lives of its victims, explores their many imperfections, and punishes them accordingly. A great deal of comparison has been drawn between Let Us Prey and Assault on Precinct 13, both set within a police station; however, instead of keeping the villains out of sight, the horror is claustrophobically contained within the station for most of the film.
The performances from McIntosh and Cunningham are equally consistent throughout the film, but often seem stiff and awkward. The dialogue itself feels clunky, both in writing and delivery, which snaps the audience out of the movie’s suspense. This is disappointing, as the moral themes and compelling mix of characters has potential to be a great, and truly horrific film. The stunted performances and somewhat hack plot twists draw viewers out of the horror, and into an eye-roll.
The film has a distinct Gothic feel about it, brought on by first-time feature director, Brian O’Malley; the billowing coats and gritty texture do bring something somewhat unique to the all-too-often clichéd genre. O’Malley’s use of gore is heavier than a lot of the more psychological horrors that are popular in recent times, and a return to this may be a relief for some horror fans. However, for others, there are many elements of this film which are more a return to convention rather than a reinvention of the genre.
As a horror movie, Let Us Prey delivers in graphic violence and some suspense, but the missed trick here is balancing that with a strong script. The current of morals and reckoning is interesting – but nothing new – though for a horror with a bit of substance, it doesn’t fall completely flat.
Let Us Prey is released nationwide on 24th April 2015.
Watch the trailer for Let Us Prey here:
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