Review: Netflix’s ‘Prey’ brings suspense, lacks uniqueness

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Courtesy of Forbes

TRL’s Audrey McCaffity says that “‘Prey’ is the type of movie you turn on when you want something new to watch but don’t want to feel committed to it.”

Starting off with a camping trip that quickly dissolves into chaos, Netflix’s ‘Prey’ takes the most basic horror film setting and brings in just the right amount of suspense to make a thriller. Netflix released the movie on Sept. 10 in the original German language and a dubbed over English version, and it received little to no promotion in the U.S. 

The film focuses on five friends who are on Roman’s (David Kross) bachelor trip. After hearing a series of gunshots, they become the target of who they thought was a normal hunter. From then on, they are consistently on the run trying to find anyone who can help them escape. They almost immediately start fighting, and they are unable to come up with a plan which leads to several of them dying throughout the film. At the conclusion of the film, there is a small amount of backstory on the killer and after Roman comes face to face with them the audience is left with more questions than answers. 

While ‘Prey’ lacked any large amounts of creativity and uniqueness, it was successful in keeping the audience engaged even without a complex storyline. The movie was also the perfect length wrapping up in under two hours. This prevented pointless plotlines from being included which Netflix films often struggle with. Though originally filmed in German, the need for an English voice over does not detract from the film in any way. Any questions about the film are not due to poor translation. 

One thing that caused the movie to significantly fall in rating was the lack of true connection between the characters. They were supposed to be friends on a trip together, but it almost seemed as if they had met at the start of the film. Furthermore, the audience does not know nearly enough about the characters’ back story or life. Without this vital information, the stakes of the film are significantly lowered. It’s hard to find empathy for a fictional character when the one thing you can confidently say you know about them is their name. 

The score of the film was underwhelming. It seemed as if it the creators of the film simply decided to look up horror movie scores on Youtube and pick the first soundtrack that came up. The dark overcast in the background significantly helped to set the tone of the film, but would have been greatly improved with the help of intense music paired with subtle changes sparking suspense. 

Though none of the actors in the film are well known throughout the U.S., they help make up for the poorly scripted relationships and back stories. Peter, played by Robert Finster, plays a much needed role fueling the ongoing conflict while continually being a voice of reason. He is able to make you see the characters’ point of view while simultaneously hating them. By extending the character development in the film for all the characters, it could have become so much more. 

Though the movie is not spectacular in any way, it does accomplish its job as a thriller. ‘Prey’ is the type of movie you turn on when you want something new to watch but don’t want to feel committed to it. It fits well in this role, but shouldn’t be thought of as much more than that. 

 

Rating: B-