Prey 2021 Movie Review Poster Trailer Online
Roman decides to spend his bachelor party by hiking in the woods. Accompanying him are his friends Vincent, Stephan and Peter as well as his brother Albert. At the beginning, the five men seem to be good friends having a good time. When they hear a gunshot, they dismiss it as hunters. However, the next time the shot fires, it leaves one of them bleeding and wounded. The men soon figure out that they are being hunted like prey by a concealed sharpshooter. With no vehicle to escape and no network in their phones, they are left completely desperate and lost. Soon they find themselves navigating through the woods, dodging bullets, and also dealing with differences that start to spring up among themselves.
From the very beginning, Prey sets a tone and a mood for itself which it doesn’t deviate from for even a second. The eerie music, tense silences and minimal number of people in each frame lends a sense of both uneasiness and intrigue for the viewers at the same time. Most of the scenes in the movie are filmed in the woods, which is a major contributing factor to the almost sinister vibe. A couple of scenes that are filmed elsewhere are also equally eerie though. Even scenes that are initially presented as happy memories are rather unnerving, and leave you with the feeling that all is not as it seems. It’s a successful attempt at staying true to the overall mood of the film and also ends up hinting at some major reveals that take place later on.
The premise and initial set-up of the film left me just a tad confused. While a bachelor party with your friends and brother in the most abandoned parts of the woods isn’t the most absurd idea any guy has ever had, it doesn’t make sense how everyone was onboard with the plan. Stephan was the only character that seemed like he liked being one with nature. Besides him, we have a guy scared of heights, a guy with a lot to hide from our groom-to-be and a guy who basically wanted to spend the bachelor party at a bar or club, so it seems highly improbable that Roman got them all to join him on this hiking trip willingly.
Additionally, as the story unveils, we find out that the guys aren’t the closest of friends. Some friendships seem like a compromise more than anything, and others feel like they’ve just met each other in the recent past.Their relationship with one another keeps oscillating between formal and intimate. The interactions amongst themselves become strangely impersonal and even bitter on occasions, as the story progresses. Yet, at the start, they all look like they’re the ‘ride or die’ kind of friends who’d find joy in doing mundane and silly things with each other, such as row boat racing (Hey, I don’t know. Maybe it’s fun for some people).
The point being, that it’s not the easiest task to understand the friendship dynamic amongst the five. This makes it harder to get invested in the conflicts as well. Adding to that is the fact that a lot of outbursts seemed to come out of the blue with no build up, and the intensity of disagreements is forced in some scenes. However, the fact that the movie is dubbed might have had something to do with it. It’s quite common for emotionally intense scenes to lose their intensity in translation.
That being said, the movie scores in the area where it most needed to- the element of thrill and fear. From the moment the guys hear a gunshot far off in the woods, we are already anticipating for things to head straight to hell. While the first few minutes appear slow and uneventful, it adds on to the shock element when things escalate quickly. Before you know it, our little party is busy playing cat and mouse with a hidden attacker, out in the open and running for their lives. A movie mostly consisting of running, ducking and hiding- and it keeps you hooked for every second of it.
The movie might have erred by singling out one of the guys as the ‘protagonist’ by the kind of emphasis on him, giving the audience a hint that this particular guy might survive this misadventure-courtesy of plot armour solely reserved for protagonists. However, it makes up for that by distributing an almost equal amount of focus among the other four, leaving us wondering which one of them, if any, will survive along with our protagonist. They steer clear of doing the expected by not associating the order of deaths to personality types.
To elaborate, the worn out storyline with the smarter ones surviving and the impulsive ones being killed off instantly is not adopted here. Realistically, once a hidden sharpshooter with amazing aim starts shooting at you, it’s really all about your luck and the shooter’s intent. The lack of mourning and tears at the demise of any of the characters shed light on the desperation of the rest to survive as well as the superficial nature of most of their bonds.
The ultimate motive of the killer is upsetting and impactful, no matter how rushed the portrayal of it all was. A broken heart and a terrible loss compelling people to become the most cold-blooded of murderers is a trope we’ve seen on multiple occasions, and yet we buy into it on almost every single one. After all, vengeance for a personal loss is almost a stronger drive than ambition for a personal gain.
The ending comes off as a little anticlimactic- both in terms of whatever is happening right then, and personal struggles the characters are facing. However, a dramatic ending and all storylines wrapped up in a cute little bow might have taken away from the style the movie was so loyal towards from it’s very first second. An abrupt ending, in that way, does justice to the abrupt manner in which everything else transpired.
The attacker is an interesting element. The look and demeanor is not conventionally that of your run-of-the-mill killer. Even till the very end, I found myself more curious than angry at our mysterious sharpshooter. The attacker is menacing not because of their appearance, but rather the competency they possess. This movie also gives a whole different meaning to the term ‘silent killer’