Wicked and Wild / UK premiere

Let Us Prey

  • Brian O’Malley /
  • UK, Ireland /
  • 2014 /
  • 89 mins

Liam Cunningham, Pollyanna McIntosh, Bryan Larkin, Douglas Russsell, Hanna Stanbridge / Fiction / English

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When a menacing stranger (Game of Thrones' Liam Cunningham) winds up in the purgatory of a small-town police cell, a terrifying chain reaction begins among his fellow inmates. As madness descends, blood starts to flow and WPC Rachel Heggie (Pollyanna McIntosh) finds herself with her back to the wall, fighting for her life. With echoes of John Carpenter and Dario Argento, director Brian O'Malley expertly builds the tension from a slow-burning start to an absolutely explosive, nerve-shredding finale. [18]

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  • #1 Stephen Rowan / Friday 20 June, 2014 / 13:44 GMT

    A truly wonderful and imaginative piece of story telling. This is the debut film from Brian O' Malley. It really is worth a look. Very large ensemble cast which helps this slickly paced film move along. Although all the cast shine strongly the real stand out performance comes from Bryan Larkin, a great performance, certainly the most measured and realistic. So if you like your horror and want a real thrill ride check this bad boy out. Cant wait to see what Brian O'Malley has to come for us this time next year.
  • #2 Robin Hickson / Sunday 22 June, 2014 / 13:55 GMT

    It's not me, it's you, Mr O'Malley. There. Said it. Cathartic purgation - which is the entire premise of "Let Us Prey".

    The first few minutes, during the opening sequence, are really quite beautifully done. Yet, oddly enough, that cinematographic style is never repeated. A shame, because it's seductive; ocean spray filtering the light, and our protagonist rising "300" -like from his seastack vantage.

    But then the stranger is pursued or escorted, Hitchcock-like, by a flock of crows. Or rooks. Or maybe ducks; it doesn't matter which, because, like the intro, they have no further plot application. They just seem to be there to remind us of Mr O'Malley's influences. And this is the nub of my problem with this film. As a directorial debut, surely the goal is to create your own universe? Not simply to rip and stick iconic memories into a film-length format.

    The over-emphasis on film history buries this movie like a remake of "Spoorlos". Besides the earlier references, the plot synopsis could be completed with; "Martyrs" - check the scene of the girl escaping her tormentor; "Assault on Precinct 13" - yes, a police station is set alight and they have to fight their way out; "The Guard" - without the deliberate humour; "Withnail&I" - ditto; "Resident Evil" - Polyanna MacIntosh as Jill Valentine; "Silence of the Lambs" - the dank menace of the cells; and possibly last, but certainly not least, "Rambo - First Blood".

    I laughed out loud when the Rambo understudy (the local police sergeant) reappeared at the police station, after having emptied his fridge and bed at home of various body parts, only to swiftly wonder if I was supposed to be laughing at all.
    I left wishing it was truly a parody. It was nearly funny enough, inadvertently or not, to make that work. Instead, as a collage and homage, it merely reminds us of much better films.
    Let Us Prey: 4/10

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