Since that new movie about the killer lion with Idris Elba (simply called Beast) is coming out soon here too, let’s pick one of the currently available ones on Amazon Prime Video that fit into the subniche of killer lions flick, at least at the time of writing.
As in, i wanted to review Prey… the 2006 one, but since it’s not streaming there, the other killer lion flick from 2016 will do, and because originality it’s an ephemeral phantom, both movie are simply called “Prey”.
Not be confused with the new Predator movie.
Or the Netflix german horror thriller of the same name.
Or the two similar-yet-unrelated Prey games.
This is 2016’s Prey (since “Prooi” translates to that, also known as Violent Fierce Lion, so whatever, you can call your movie “Prey”, whatever), and it’s by dutch director Dick Maas, better known for Amsterdamned, the Flodder comedy series, but also behind the horror christmas movie Saint/Sint, and the often forgotten entry in the “killer elevator” subgenre with 1983’s The Lift, his debut film, which he actually remade with american actors in 2001 as Down/The Shaft.
But worry not, there’s no elevators with a thirst for human blood here, just a lion that somehow arrived in Amsterdam and has developed a taste for human flesh, and rampages through the city snacking on anyone, from delivery people to the more tender (i assume) younglings.
The police tries to stop the animal, first by enlisting the dutch equivalent of a Sir Lipton “great white hunter” wannabe, then it’s up to a zoo veterinatarian to call upon an actual hunter acquaintance of hers to lay out a real plan to corner and kill the beast, alongside the douchy ex-boyfriend reporter of hers, before it all gets completely out of control.
It’s nothing we haven’t seen before, but aside from the more fresher setting of Amsterdam (instead of Africa), Prey it’s a surprising enjoyable entry in the “killer animals” subgenre, one that strikes a satisfying balance between portraying the events in a more serious and grounded fashion, but also showing some self-awareness of its b-movie status, with just enough levity that it doesn’t come off as tongue-in-cheek, but just willing to deliver some entertaining action sequence, some characters that are primo cannon-fodder for the beast to eat and/rip apart, with some very competent (and abundant) gore effects and fairly good CG for the lion to both, the production values are definitely on the higher end for something not backed by a big studio.
It’s definitely worthy of theathrical screenings, even though in most countries went straight to DVD or streaming (aside from film festivals screenings), i’ve seen plenty of worse looking horror movies in theathers, this does look the part, as they say, and leaving aside it’s good production values, Prey 2016 it’s quite entertaining, with some fun, likeable characters, some good jokes and a solid pacing.
It’s a decent killer animal movie overall, decent, nothing outstanding but still better than you might think, though it does go on for 10-13 minutes more than it should.
Still, a nice little surprise for once, i don’t say that often while picking (almost) at random killer animal flicks from whatever its available on Amazon or Netflix.
It’s no Day Of The Animals, but not all your “nature is rebelling and wants bloody revenge on mankind as a whole” films can have Leslie Nielsen.