on March 29, 2010
While working in a dam in Africa, the American hydraulic engineer Tom Newman brings his family to spend a couple of days in the Leopard's Rest Lodge. His fourteen year-old daughter Jessica is having friction with her stepmother Amy since she does not accept the divorce of her parents. On the next morning, Amy, Jessica and her brother David go in a game drive with a ranger while Tom goes to the dam. While driving off-road, they stop for a minute for David, and unexpectedly they are attacked by a group of starving lions that kill and eat the ranger. Amy, Jessica and David are trapped in the jeep and stalked by the wild lions. When Tom returns to the hotel and finds that his family has not returned from the game, he asks for help to the experienced hunter and guide Crawford and together they seek Tom's family. For a low budget movie, I found this movie quite entertaining. This movie doesn't take long to pick up, within 15 minutes of the movie, you will be curious to watch the survival plot of humans against beast. It's quick, fun and interesting. It's worth a rental.
on October 10, 2015
I took a chance with this movie in spite of the bad reviews, mostly because those reviews seemed more over the top than the movie itself could possibly be. Also, there were good reviews. In my experience, a movie with good reviews alongside scathing ones is generally a good bet. You can toss out the scathing ones. I mean, if some people hate a movie so much, it must have something going for it that they don't like. "Prey" is a prime example of this, and after seeing the film I'm disgusted by the bad reviews. Ridiculous, really. I shake my head. What is wrong with these folks? Goes to show, you absolutely cannot depend on user reviews. Read the synopsis and technical specs instead.
I thoroughly enjoyed this movie and will watch it again many times I'm sure. And believe me, I can be very critical of "bombs." But as stated, this is not a bomb. It's a buried gem, taking into consideration that it isn't a Hollywood blockbuster Academy Award candidate; nor, I'm sure, was it ever intended to be. It's just good entertainment.
I'd like to counter some of the irrational criticisms in the bad reviews gathered here.
First of all, the acting is good across the board. Specifically, the young actor referred to by one negatively biased reviewer as "some boy" was by no means "awful." In fact, he was pretty good at portraying a modern day tween caught up in an exciting, though admittedly terrifying, experience. I give him 4/5 stars. The rest of the actors were also quite adequate in their parts, even good at times. 'Nuf said about the acting.
The story is well written if you're not looking for Citizen Kane, or more to the point, Cujo. The directing? I don't know, that's hard to tell sometimes. In any event, it wasn't noticeable, which I guess is a compliment, given that bad directing can be obvious and ruin an otherwise good flick. The story here flows smoothly and held my attention without complaint.
The tension between the new wife and the husband's teen daughter was *not* overdone. The daughter was *not* unnaturally annoying, and did *not* need to be fed to the lions as some have suggested. The trapped women did *not* scream too much. The boy did *not* ask for water and food too much (actually, only a few times). The new wife, when she got the keys, in fact drove wildly into the bush and crashed the Range Rover, but she was obviously too panicked and disoriented to be making calm, rational, thoughtful decisions at the time.
Bottom line: I liked the family. They can visit me anytime.
I have no idea how real lions would behave, and in the case of this movie I really don't care. Others can nitpick about that and other details. They looked real enough and dangerous enough to me. And speaking of lions (and scenery), the color photography is beautiful, especially in Blu-ray. There admittedly is more gore than necessary. The movie is listed as NOT RATED, but I imagine because of all the blood it would be rated PG or PG13 depending on who rated it. I would probably rate it PG11, or maybe PG10 but up to the discretion of the parents. Feminists will love the wife's heroism. She screamed, but when the chips were down she snapped out of it, even though there was no one there to slap her silly.
I love movies!
Tom Newman (Peter Weller) brings his two children and his new, younger wife, Amy (Bridget Moynahan) to Africa to spend some time with them while he's working on an African dam project. His daughter, Jessica (Carly Schroeder), is upset about her parents' divorce, and wants nothing to do with Amy. Hoping to form a bond between them, Newman suggests that his daughter and new wife, along with his son, David (Connor Dowds), take a ride through a game reserve on their way to the lodge where they will spend the rest of their vacation while he finishes up on some work.
While touring the reserve, young David needs to use the bathroom. The guide and David leave the safety of the SUV they are riding in so that David can do a little "paper work" in the bush. With the tour guide protecting him with a rifle, David commences to relieve himself. Unfortunately for the group, though, David's moving problem has them stopped in the middle of a group of starving lions. The lions make an attempt on catching David, but the guide manages to hold them off long enough for the young boy to make it back to the truck. The guide isn't so lucky and is violently killed by the beasts. This leaves Amy, Jessica, and David alone to swelter in the African heat and do their best in order to survive until someone can find them.
Meanwhile, Tom has made it to the lodge and immediately tries to start a search and rescue mission. Unfortunately the rangers at the lodge can't assist him until daylight. He's put into contact with a local hunter/tracker named Crawford (Jamie Bartlett) who refuses to help Tom at first, but eventually gives in when a payment is offered for his services.
From here, the film bounces from extremely tense (and well-played) moments where the lions attempt to get their paws on the Newman clan to long and drawn out moments of dialogue primarily between Amy and Jessica. In an attempt to keep the story interesting, the three primary players are put into situations ranging from trying to make an escape in the vehicle once they find the keys to making friends with poachers.
The film struggled to hold my interest during its run. It quickly became a victim of its own devices. There have been many better films made where the bulk of the action centers on a small group of individuals in an isolated situation as is the case in "Prey." "The Descent" and "Jaws" immediately come to mind. However, in "Prey," having the group pinned down in a vehicle and making a number of risky and, in at least one situation, ridiculous choices does nothing to keep the story interesting.
The primary subplot of the film, the friction between Amy and Jessica, is instantly predictable and offers nothing to add to the film.
The cast doesn't do a terrible job. Moynahan is sufficient as the stepmother who takes on the task of being a hero while stranded in the bush. Weller doesn't have much to do in this film except become angry for a bit and then desperate to save his family. The children are okay, but both of them visit the overacting department a bit too often for my tastes. If I had to pick out one shining star in the film, I'd have to say it was Jamie Bartlett. His character is about the most interesting thing in the film, and adds a bit of much needed humor to the story as well.
The special effects are dodgy at times. The CGI blood is ridiculous, and fails to rise above similar effects that can be found on SyFy on Saturday nights.
In summary, "Prey" has some wonderful moments that almost make it better than it really is. In the end, however, it is nothing more than a B-movie that doesn't even fall into the "so terrible it's funny" category. Recommended to fans of SyFy channel flicks or films such as "Open Water."
on February 6, 2013
Okay. There were those that did not care for the movie and I respect that. After all we are Americans. We agree to disagree. I received my copy today. I bought it because I watched it on tv and became frustrated waiting for it to be televised again. This is mindless entertainment like "Commando". Yet, it provides fun. It takes us away from our cares and troubles for awhile. I am tough when it comes to movies. Do not read into it. Just enjoy it.
on September 8, 2014
I am going to this otherwise 2-star movie a third star for one reason, the part where the boy gives his companions stuck in the vehicle a running dialogue of one of their would be rescuers being eaten by hyenas:
"That one over there just pulled his foot off."
Other than that the movie was too over-done, the characters were too unsympathetic, movie was predictable. For a movie that was 90 minutes it seemed too long.