Prey For Daylight (2007)

Director Grant Lavac
Writers Grant Lavac
Starring Grant Lavac, Denny Kopacka, Bernard Barnsley, Ripley Atkinson, Sarah Atkinson
Genre Monster
Run Time (minutes) 29.59

Talk us through it

In the Megalong Valley in New South Wales 1989 a young boy, Ripley, is playing with his dog, looks to be a foxie for those interested, as dusk falls. The dog notes something out in the paddocks and takes off like a fire cracker has just gone off in it's arse. Naturally Ripley is soon in hot pursuit and well away from the farmhouse before his mom gets in on the act. Dad heads off to retrieve the situation, but on hearing some growls decides to go back and get his gun. Unfort for the family all that is left of Ripley and the unnamed dog is a bloody stump in a boot.

Guess the next day, it's hard to work out the timelines here, a young couple, Ray and Rachel, are hiking in the Megalong. After a confrontation with a local farmer, was that meant to be the lost Ripley's father? - Ray loses the compass and our couple are soon lost in the bush. Queue the growls and the arrival of an Aussie legend, no it's not a drop bear, can our couple escape the Megalong before they become the next victims on the menu?

Ready to check out one of the few movies to explore a fair dinkum aussie cyrptozoology creature?


One might exist but I'm unaware of another movie that has as it's central villain the legendary Australian Yowie. That would be the Down Under equivalent of Big Foot for North American readers, or the Yeti for … uhmm … Nepalese readers. Anywise think missing link lurking in the outback ready to grab the odd unwary tourist or young liberal party member. Actually I know bugger all about the Yowie, which should be a salient warning that they probably exist and could explain the mysterious disappearance of Harold Holt. Take that Chinese submarine conspiracy theorists, it was the Yowie I tells ya! Wonder if I can explain the Sydney Swans going missing in action this year on a sudden outbreak of Yowies at the SCG?

Director Lavac opens his movie with a prologue scene to set the mood and put the audience on notice that if he's prepared to do in a kid in gruesome fashion up front then hold onto your linen anything could go down. On a typical farm a young fella is playing with his dog. Notable the kid's name is Ripley which I kind of thought was a wink at the Alien movies till I noted the child actor's first name is actually Ripley and decided M. Night clearly wasn't going to wander in to direct the second unit. Lavac informs us we are in Megalong and it's 1989, which had me thinking we would zoom to a later date after the opening credits. We don't, the audience is left confused, and one wonders why the title card informing us of time and place was necessary. I think I know what the Director/Writer was trying to get across but since he drops the ball quicker than a Swan full forward it simply ends up slightly clumsy if not comical.

Ripley and the dog are soon out in the paddocks meeting their fates at the talons and teeth of something unseen. Notable given the dialogue between the farmer Bunt and his wife, simply credited as Mother, the scene could have gone down anywhere from about 1930. Lavac leaves the scene with the put upon Bunt finding Ripley's right boot adorn by bloody leg stump. For those wondering I have no idea of the fate of the dog, am assuming it provided the entrée, but hey don't quote me on that.

What stands out like dog balls on a winter morning from the prologue piece is that the editing and scene transition are simply woeful. Looks like they employed Jason Voorhees and his machete to do the post production sniping and splicing together of the final version of the film. Things just suddenly happen, Bunt getting his gun for example, making you wonder if you are in imminent danger of getting whip lash. Unfortunately for the audience the editing issue continues right through the half hour the movie runs for. Director Lavac should have test screened this one before unleashing it on the world.

Editing is a mess, the script needs the audience to interpret things the writer is unable to get across, and the creature features are mirthful. Other than that it's a movie with some hints of talent leaking out.

Lavac does to a certain extent pull the irons out of the fire with his creature handling. Nice use of POV and the growling was certainly adding just the right amount of juice to the atmosphere. Pity when he does reveal the Yowie later in the film it's going to produce more mirth than screams. Talk about your stone faced poker player from the primordial swamp. I didn't even have to check if I could see the costume zippers, it's clearly some dude wearing the sort of mask you would pick up in a novelty shop just prior to Halloween. But in the prologue for one brief shining moment Lavac does have that ring of crystal happening as Stephen King is wont to put it.

The issue with the place and time title comes into play when we meet our young couple Ray and Rachel. They are out hiking in the bush to try and get their relationship back on track after the stresses of the city. Rachel has a little surprise package of her own to deliver as well. Since we don't get told if this is set some years after the demise of the unfortunate Ripley we can only surmise we are in a morning after situation. When the local farmer makes the scene you'll know what I mean. It can only be Blunt as no one else is credited, but the new version of the farmer looks nothing like the Blunt from the prologue. I had this whole scenario of Blunt living with his grief and hunting the elusive Yowie, try the Swan's dressing room mate, turning slowly more and more insane as the years took their toll. Since this isn't supported by the actual movie who knows. Put it down as some unknown local with a penchant for firearms lurking about.

Moving along here, and by passing even more editing blunders that look to involve stock footage form the New South Wales tourist board, we soon discover Ray is afraid of heights and doesn't have a firm grip on his compass. So sure the height thing is a plot foreshadow that comes into play in a sort of "oh there it goes" fashion, but the compass thing is simply clumsy. The audience note Ray has dropped the compass into the pond and Lavac zooms onto the lost directional aid with all the vigour of an octogenarian getting the zimmer frame to the front door first thing in the morning. Mr Lavac we got the point, lets not belabour things here.

Having lost their way our bickering couple are soon setting up camp for the night, which looks to be a bit of a production number to be honest. It's at this stage that certainly similarities between our current movie and one involving a threesome in the Maryland woods becomes apparent. Noises in the night, someone disappearing, the whole "what you don't see is more frightening than what you do see" thing. Thankfully the audience are spared a black screen as Lavac at least remembers to take the lens cap off the camera as opposed to a certain couple of U.S film makers. Don't let them tell you that was an effect, the cheap bastards forgot the lens cap and were more interested in marketing than reshooting crap scenes. Think I've successfully avoided litigation from The Blair Witch Project Lawyers here by skilfully not mentioning that movie by title.

The rest of the movie revolves around Ray's attempts to overcome his fear of heights and escape the terror inducing Yowie of the static mask variety. Yes there's more bad scene transitions but at least we finally get a good look at the mythical beast, and really wish we hadn't! Naturally Director Lavac drops a typical horror ending on us with the idea that it might not be all over, and hey it this thing opens some doors then a sequel can be negotiated. I wouldn't be waiting by my phone to be honest if I was Lavac.

Grant Lavac (Ray) not surprisingly takes the lead in his own movie, as stated previously in other reviews this is generally a bad mistake. Lavac can't act and it's actually painful watching him. Denny Kopacka (Rachel) doesn't do any better but looks to be simply happy someone cast her in a role. Lets not even go near the support cast, Blunt reminded me of the gun toting zombie killer from Undead which isn't a good thing outside that movie.

If there was a score I didn't take notice, mainly because I spent vast swaths of the movie sniggering over the Yowie. Cadbury's produced more frightening effects for the advertising campaign of their product that didn't in anyway rip off kinder surprise.

Prey For Daylight, I didn't even enjoy the pun folks, is available for view at the official site right here. Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on view point, the media player isn't all that big through the quality is pretty good. See just below for the trailer in case you wont to check things out before investing half an hour.

ScaryMinds Rates this short as ...

Not the best short film ever to have been made, some signs that the Director/Writer may improve form here. Watch at your own risk.