Prey (2009)

Director Oscar D'Roccster
Writers John V. Soto, Robert Lewis Galinsky
Starring Natalie Bassingthwaighte, Jesse Johnson, Natalie Walker, Ben Kermode, Christian Clark, Kristin Sargent, Nicholas Bell
Genre Curse
Tagline Dreamtime's Over

Talk us through it

Gus gets the sack from his Sydney finance job and decides he needs to go surfing at the world's most isolated beach. He enlists girlfriend Kate, another couple Jason and Ling, and to top things off the overly gay Matt and the new age Annika, to head on out to the desert, wtf, to hit the sand and surf. Anyone with even the remotest knowledge of Australian geography will be scratching their head, maybe the world's most remote beach is in W.A or something, your guess is as good as mine.

On the way west ward, maybe they were trying for a wagon train thing, our victims stop off at a remote gas station to top up on petrol, snacks, and drinks. A local gives Kate a map to a remote billabong and a necklace apparently made by the local kooris. Naturally, since none of the six have ever seen a horror movie before, they follow the map into deepest darkness Australia, and the lead vehicle gets stuck in a sand dune. Since none of our six adventurers have ever actually been off road the concept of a rope and winch is a bit beyond them. The bodies soon mount up in the back of the SUV as some mischievous snakes decide to help the human gene pool by weeding out the slow learners.

In keeping with classic Australian horror themes, i.e. purloining the idea from superior movies, all roads circle back to the dune of despair so there's no hope of fleeing the scene.

Snakes, zombies, and psychos, they have you covered at the billabong that dripped blood. Actually there isn't a billabong but I preferred that term to "watering hole" and couldn't be bothered explaining the lack of aquatic mayhem.


"I don't call this living. And I sure as hell don't call that dead." - Ling

Slight update to this review due to some additional information coming across our desks. Excuse me while I wipe egg off my face, dig into a piece of humble pie, and send my apologies to John V Soto and the Producers of Prey. Firstly John V Soto did write the script the movie is based on but what you see on screen isn't exactly what you find in John's script. If the original Director had of stuck to the actual script we would have got a far superior movie to the travesity that resulted. I'm currently reading the script John wrote and have to wonder why on earth Prey's actual Director (uncredited) George Miller, no not that one, decided to head off into another direction to what he was given. I don't even want to think about what the hell Miller thought he was doing. Someone get Jamie Blanks on the phone and send him John V Soto's script stat!

Full respect to the Producers of Prey, they clearly had only two options when they got Miller's finished movie. Write the whole thing off and flush the investors money down the tiolet or go with what they had and put a brave face on it. They decided on the second option, hey plenty of markets out there for DVD fodder, to at least try and get a return on investment. Given the problematic nature of raising finance for horror flicks in this Country that's got to be the only course of action. Hope it at least kept Oscar & Rockster in sardines for a while.

Please note I still think this is an appallingly bad movie, but the background story is at least full of drama and ensures the rocky road of Aussie movie making hasn't been paved over. Parts of the review have been edited to ensure we point the finger of blame at the correct people. So on with the review.

The tone for Prey is set pretty early in the film, Natalie Bassingthwaighte as a surgeon! Clearly the whole plot is going to be unbelievable and rely on the dubious acting talents of the desperate. Quite frankly, and lets get this out of the way upfront, Prey is the worse Australian horror movie that I have ever seen and we the people of the wide brown land send apologies to the International community for releasing this confused, sub standard, lazy arsed movie. And I'm trying to be kind to the film here.

On the bright side of the road to nowhere there is an apparent lesbian shower scene to look forward to late in the movie. That was actually a pretty clever ploy by the Director, it's not in the original script, as most audience members would have flagged the film away without the promise of illicit exploitation waiting in the wings.

Director George Miller, Oscar D'Roccster was attached to the movie after Miller walked out in post production, throws together a barely coherent film with enough surreal sets and lighting to embarrass Gabriel. Guess he's going for that whole "other wordly" feel. Personally it looked to me like he took way too many drugs at film school and went buck naked wild with the filters and effects in an effort to convince us that he could make a movie. Kudos on using some props that would have had Ed Wood Jnr applauding though, when are the giant rubber snakes going on eBay? - I've got a lazy $50 with their name on it. Loved the flash back scene that was shoot in black and white, yeap that gave me the "yee olde" feel, maybe if Miller had of taken some time out of his busy schedule of recreating an early Pink Floyd clip and actually tried to make it coherent plot wise it would have made more sense. Why exactly was the dude shot again and how exactly did the little girl escape and survive in the deep desert? Don't worry it's not of over whelming concern to me, but potential viewers may want the answer there.

Rumour has it that D'Roccster is the cat of one of the Producers after the original Director fled the scene. If so the cat should be tied in a sack, and said sack dropped off Sydney Harbour Bridge. The feline simply has no talent as a film maker folks. Latest news in is the Cat was infact two felines, guess artistic differences affected the movie then.

Yes I will get to the lesbian shower scene shortly.

Besides heading into the desert from Sydney in order to get to the beach, this movie is set in some alternative universe only accessible via an infinity drive, the movie contains so many other plot holes that you are left wondering if a public warning shouldn't have been posted prior to the opening credits. Something along the lines of "Warning: this movie will reduce your IQ to single figures and have you believing that Natalie could be a surgeon". In one glorious scene the surviving members of the ill fated journey decide to leave one of the vehicles behind and get out of dodge. Commendable action in a horror movie, except the abandoned vehicle is clearly in the next scene being driven in an apparent never ending cycle. Just got to say, how much footage of three vehicles does an audience really need to sit through. Like the beach in Long Weekend all roads circle back to the deserted oasis of the undead. Out of interest it's always been my experience that if you want to go surfing then it's a good idea to take some, oh I don't know, surfboards along perhaps!

Lesbian shower scene coming up shortly, yes it's a sick sad world when a movie has to be promoted via the anticipation of seeing two hot chicks going at it nekkid. My excuse is I review Down Under horror movies and am a completist, your excuse would be?

Naturally being unable to hang a cohesive movie on the screen Miller is going to come at us with his horror elements, after all this is meant to be a scary movie *snigger*. Don't like snakes, the Director is going to throw more snakes at you than a weekend full of watching those Anaconda movies, unfortunately the reptiles in use in Prey are clearly CGI post production efforts or cool rubber props. Thinking about it you are probably better off watching the Anaconda movies to get your giant snake fix than labouring through Prey. Not sick of zombies yet? Cool Miller has a zombie outbreak going down with a difference, were the undead meant to be on fire? Unfortunately the zombies look like extras out of an Ozzy Osborne clip though the makeup for the wounds was pretty effective. Hey if the snakes don't get you the zombies will, how was your weekend? And to top things off, cause why stick with one menace when you can go the whole hog, we also have some psycho weirdo running around delivering on the koori dreamtime mysticism, apparently no Aboriginal actors were available at the time of casting. This would have been all to the good except Prey adds the "B" to boring and the audience, all two of them, would have wandered off by the time things get nice and gritty.

Lesbian shower scene is coming at you very shortly.

Director Miller would probably makes a more than adequate music clip as he is clearly deeply affected by post MTV shenanigans behind the camera. Unfortunately Miller doesn't know the first thing about making a horror movie and loses the prime requirement, of actually scaring people in between the kaleidoscopic inanity he presents. The pacing of Prey is all over the shop and the Director lacks the ability to throw anything like a knock out punch at us.

Ladies and Gentlemen hang onto your linen, lesbian shower scene time! One of the cool things in horrordom is when a couple of invariable hot chicks are alone and in danger their natural reaction is to get nekkid, get under the water, and soap each other down. It must be a chick thing, Miller is all over this like that rash you picked up in Bangkok last weekend. But like the non existing "water hole", that would be billabong to you and me, we don't actually get what we paid our money to see. The rather cute Natalie Walker gets to pretend to drool over Natalie Bassingthwaighte taking a shower. And that would be taking a shower fully clothed! Clearly the target audience for this misdirection in exploitation is the Mormon community, as the scene sure as hell didn't translate to a "lesbian shower scene" in my book of drunken weekends. Sorry to spoil it for you, but at least you wont be fooled by the blatantly misleading advertising that promised perverted pleasures to entice the unwary. The Natalies do get down to a surprisingly erotic finger massage prior to the infamous shower non-event, and go the tongue after, if that's any help.

Apparently script writer John V. Soto had been slaving over the writing for ten years or so. Unfort for John and the public George Miller thought, unwisely given the movie, we needed something different to the original screen play. What we get is a movie that resembles what a barrel full of drunk monkeys would come up with after banging away at a keyboard for an hour. Miller's script adjustments did not make a believer out of me and moreover was a confused and ill thought out tangle of half baked ideas. Dude horror is simple, introduce your characters and make then more than cardboard cutouts, scream out "boo" a few times, and whack on a shock ending. If possible leave room for a sequel on the off chance the film makes a few bucks at the cinema. Throwing on a confused mash of mysticism and half thought out horror clichés isn't in the job description Bro. When someone writes a script take a long hard look at what the writer has created, don't decide to make major changes, there's a world of difference between writing a script and Directing a movie.

Leading our cookie cutter band of thespians is Natalie Bassingthwaighte (Kate). Previously Nat convinced us she couldn't act in Neighbours and then convinced us she wasn't the sharpest tool in the shed by hosting So You Think You Can Dance. Unlike a bottle of fine wine Ms Bassingthwaighte isn't aging well, and turns in the sort of performance that makes grown people cry over the money they spent on catching the movie. Jesse "Son of Don" Johnson leaps onboard as our token yank, see things don't change over the years, in a clear attempt to market to the Northern American market. Whether or not Johnson can act I'll leave up to the reader as I'm way too busy removing all memory of his performance from my mind. Natalie Walker (Ling) while not having to worry about the Academy giving her a call anytime soon, at least is better than the hopelessly inept Bassingthwaighte. Ben Kermode (Matt) simply goes all gay, Christian Clark (Jason) goes all ocker, I was really pleased he joined the casualty list sooner rather than later, and Kristin Sargent (Annika) goes all herbal and stuff. If you are getting the idea that Prey simply presents cardboard cutout characters, they are helpfully introduced via names right there on the screen, then you would be totally right.

Ensuring no one is going to leave this movie happy the T&A quota is next to non-existent. Bassingthwaighte prances around in a pair of shorts showing off cleavage, but that's only due to her having zero other talents, and yes I'm including her stint cat wailing for Rogue Traders.

Dale Cornelus turned in a rock orientated score that pretty much didn't match the action or pacing going down on the screen. Figure Cornelus had scored a different movie, because sure as hell what he produced for Prey wasn't based on the actual film.

Summary Execution

I was warned that Prey could well be a dud, but unfortunately in my position of reviewing anything remotely Down Under and horror I had to take a bullet on the film. Thankfully I picked it up as a $4.50 rental rather than wasting a lot of money on it. The movie has atrocious dialogue, acting that your local community drama group wouldn't accept, an altogether ridiculous plot that can't be taken seriously, topped off by more plot holes than you would want to poke a stick at. A few times I edged my finger to the eject button on my remote, but I did somehow managed to get to the less than inspiring end.

Prey did get a Down Under cinema release, there's eternal optimists out in them there horror woods folks, and managed to produce the worse horror result of the year thus far. I've got the movie making sub $1,000 dollars folks, this ain't rock and roll, this is genocide. In the face of mounting laughter and some solidly nasty reviews, the promoters tried to change tack on a number of occasions much to the merriment of the entire Industry. Apparently Prey is a "candy movie" what ever the frack that means. Sorry you tried for a serious horror movie, completely missed the boat, no amount of spin is going to change that. Folks we have a horror flick worse than Twilight, as hard as that is to believe.

ScaryMinds would like to extend our apology to anyone unfortunate enough to watch Prey. If only I had of got my review published earlier a lot of pain could have been avoided. Clearly there's no recommendation on this one, though Stephenie Meyer might dig it, avoid like the plague. Pray you never have to endure the torture that is Prey! Actually thinking long and hard about it "B" movie fans may find something worth while in Prey, if you fit into that category then give it a go, there are certainly worse movies about.

ScaryMinds Rates this movie as ...

Prey fails on all levels, don't even consider it.