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Prey – 7


Director – Antoine Blossier

Cast – Grégoire Colin, François Levantal, Fred Ulysse, Joseph Malerba, Isabelle Renauld, Berenice Bejo

Release Year – 2010

Reviewed by John of the Dead

I happened upon Prey while looking for my much needed French horror fix, and despite it seeming to come with a storyline I’ve seen numerous times I was very much intrigued to see how the French would execute this one, especially because I love killer animal films. I knew nothing of the writer/director and was not interested in looking him up before the film, which played into my bewilderment over how much I enjoyed this simple piece when I learned this came from a first-time filmmaker. Sure there are several faults present that kept the film from greatness, but in the end Prey wound up an enjoyable piece for those who share a love for such films and are willing to forgive a little.

While visiting his girlfriend Claire’s family for the weekend, a weekend he expects to be stormy given the pending announcement of his girlfriend’s pregnancy, Nathan comes across horrors that no one saw coming. When Claire’s father is attacked by a heavily traumatized deer, her brothers and Nathan set out to catch the perpetrator of such a heinous crime, but soon find themselves not the hunters but the prey.

I do not think there will ever come a day when I fall out of love with these simple films about animals attacking humans, and I found it a “breathe of fresh air” to find such a film from another country – in this case France.  I really did not know what to expect going into this piece, not even knowing what kind of animal would be doing the killing, but I was glad to see that despite its simplicity this story managed to bring forth more than just an animal chewing up stupid people.  This story is heavy on character play, especially conflict, and early on we are thrown into this conflict as Nathan is bombarded with problems stemming from his girlfriend’s pregnancy and her family’s heavy reliance on her in running their pesticide business – something that will take precedence over her pregnancy and the life of his future child.  Nathans problems worsen when he, at the behest of his wife who is obviously hiding something, goes on a hunting expedition with her male family members as they try and track a nemesis potentially threatening the land they use to run their family business.  They are not sure what to expect other than assuming they are hunting a wild boar, and while wild boars are what they find these boars have suffered genetic mutation due to a conspiracy associated with their land.  I will not go into further detail on that so that I can avoid any more spoilers, but let me just say that the conspiracy element made this not one of the run-of-the-mill killer animal films but one that brings more to the table, regardless of whether some find the conspiracy element silly or not.  Writers Antoine Blossier and Erich Vogel did a good job keeping the tension high once the hunting expedition gets going, with some very emotional kill-sequences taking place and plenty of action provided by the insane wild boars attacking the men.  I personally wish that we would have been given a few more scenes actually showing the boars, but I was happy enough with the scenes that we were given which consisted mostly of the boars hiding in the high grass and flanking the hunters one by one.  I was glad to see that aside from the obvious tension resulting from being chased by wild boars our lead protagonists also fell victim to infighting between one another during their ill-fated hunting trek.  This added wonderfully to the already ongoing conflict and made for many revelations behind the conspiracy plaguing the land and obviously the wildlife, and I guess the hunters too when you think about it.

Writer Antoine Blossier also serves as the film’s director, and he left me very surprised at just how well-shot this effort was despite his limited experience.  The locations and sets used are great and provided for much vegetative cover for the wild boars to use as they stalked the men, and Blossier used it to his advantage to keep my interest and provide some good horror.  We are given a fair amount of gore in this piece, which thankfully came via live-action FX as did the scenes with the killer boars, and it may be due to the filmmaker’s decision to go for live-action FX versus CGI FX that kept the boars from receiving more screen time.  Personally, I found no real fault in that thanks to the positive usage of FX.  As mentioned earlier, the kill sequences came with much emotion thanks to the storyline, and Blossier executed them very well in making the viewer’s heart wrench a bit over them.  The acting performances were positive as well, with our main protagonists expertly selling their anger and then fear as they come across a nemesis they never expected to fight back the way it did in this good effort from a novice filmmaker.

Overall, Prey is a positive French killer animal piece that gives us enjoyable horror in a fairly creative package thanks to a few unique elements written into the story.  The direction is good and results in the enjoyable horror mentioned in this under-the-radar flick sure to please fans of such killer animal films.

Rating: 7/10

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  1. Claire Cappetta
    February 13, 2012 at 9:57 pm

    Thanks for the review, love french horror movies, for some reason European horror movies are a little more on the ‘twisted’ side than the US stories.

    • February 17, 2012 at 9:55 pm

      Oh absolutely. Gotta love them for that.

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