The Prey (1983) Movie Review
Written By: Angela DiLella
Edited By: Grave Reviews Staff
Director: Edwin Brown
Producers: Summer Brown
Writers: Edwin Brown and Summer Brown
Date Released: November 4, 1983
Debbie Thureson as Nancy
Steve Bond as Joel
Jackson Bostwick as Mark O’Brien
Jackie Coogan as Lester Tile
Rating = 2/5 Graves
***May contain some spoilers***
A victim of a fire in the woods decades earlier has decided to take his pain out all who would camp and have fun at the site where he was so horribly disfigured all those years ago.
This movie is about as bloody as a badly skinned knee, though some of the effects and implied gore works well enough. Otherwise, the film only lightly incorporates blood and gore.
The Grave Review
The Prey is a slasher at its most basic: young adults (I can’t in good conscience call them teenagers) camping in the wild are attacked by a disfigured man who was harmed in an accident at the site decades earlier. It does what a slasher is supposed to do and not a hair more, though there are moments that hint that the crew tried to make The Prey unique in some ways.
The actors are much like the movie itself: they fulfill their roles and that’s just about it. There is some chemistry between some of the actors, but not the whole of the group. Some awkward editing doesn’t help; the big campfire scene with the main cast emphasizes the separation between the members of the group rather than the group itself. Jackson Bostwick, who plays a park ranger, probably does the most convincing job in his role. However, Bostwick looks so much like Zac Efron that his scenes can be more than a little distracting. Of course, that is not his fault at all, and every viewer isn’t going to make that connection. All in all, no one in the cast did a terrible job, but nobody really knocked it out of the park, either. Even the killer doesn’t have much more going for him than a decent make-up job.
This movie was made during a big boom in the popularity of slashers and you can tell with the sparseness of the story. Although there isn’t much to it, I don’t dislike it. You can tell, in some ways, that it tried: for example, when a park ranger finds a body of a camper he had met the day before, there are a series of staccato cuts of the body, a flashback, and the turkey vultures that have been at the body. Although the editing is a bit clumsy, it’s one of a few suggestions that the directors were trying to bring something new to the table. I also really enjoyed the score, though again, if I’m being completely honest, the main theme is an unusual but effectively used arrangement of Igor Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring,” and I’m a big fan of Stravinsky.
The movie also does have unintentionally funny moments that liven it up; a particular favorite is a shot of a lizard that makes it look menacing, as if it was involved with the murders in the film. The pacing in the movie is odd at times, so these moments are greatly appreciated, and even the lame (intended) jokes earn chuckles in the context of a largely languid movie.
For the foregoing reasons, Grave Reviews gives The Prey (1983) two graves out of five graves.
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