Directed by Darrell James Roodt
Produced by Anant Singh, Helena Spring
Written by Darrell James Roodt, Jeff Wadlow, Beau Bauman
Director of Photograpy Michael Brierly
Music by Tony Humecke
Cast: Bridget Moynahan, Peter Weller, Carly Schroeder, Connor Dowds

2007/88 mins/Color/Dolby Digital 5.1
2.35:1 anamorphic/English/USA/NTSC Region 1

Review from The Weinstein Company Home Entertainment DVD

Ever since I saw JAWS when I was way too young to be seeing JAWS, I've had a soft spot for "nature runs amok" movies. These are films which essentially come down to one point -- animals go bonkers and kill humans. Sometimes it's animals that would kill a human anyway, such as a shark in JAWS, and sometimes, it's more docile animals, such as THE BIRDS in Hitchcock's classic. Either way, when skillfully done, these movies can be scary and thought-provoking. Or, they can turn out like PREY.

As PREY opens, we meet the Newman family, who have visited Africa for a working vacation. Tom (Peter Weller) is there to help the locals build a new dam. He's brought along his new wife Amy (Bridge Moynahan) and his two kids, Jessica (Carly Schroeder) and David (Conner Dowds). Jessica resents Amy and doesn't understand why her parents got divorced and her father married this woman. While Tom is at work one day, Amy takes Jessica and David on a safari tour through a game preserve. The tour stops so that David can use the bathroom. Unfortunately, the truck has stopped near a pride of hungry lions who kill the tour guide. Amy and the kids find themselves trapped in the truck while the lions circle. Upon learning that his family is missing, Tom sets out to find them.

Have you seen CUJO? I get the feeling that the people behind PREY are hoping that since CUJO was released in 1983 that you either haven't seen it, or that you don't remember it very well. Why do I think this? Because PREY is essentially a carbon-copy of CUJO. We've got the people stranded in a vehicle in an isolated locale while a vicious animals circles. The people are low on food and water. For good measure, there's some human drama thrown in. Here, it's the tension between Amy and Jessica. (In CUJO, you may remember that it was the fact that Donna had cheated on Vic.) Although the characters do leave the vehicle on occasion and actually move the vehicle, the bulk of the film is simply three people sitting in a truck looking out for lions.

Are lions scary? Sure, why not. But, director Darrell James Roodt has no idea how to make them scary. Even though the lions kill three people in this film (with a decent amount of blood shown in each kill), the predatory cats still feel like an afterthought. There are some shots of the lions lying in the grass and several shots from the lions POV (what's up with that?), but I never got any sense of menace from the lions. Thus, there's little suspense in the film. There are two scenes where someone is running to the truck while being chased by a lion and thanks to editing, these moments have some tension, but otherwise, all that I felt was sheer boredom. At least in CUJO, we got to know the characters before they were stranded in their car. Here, we barely meet anyone and suddenly their fearing for their lives. The movie reaches a low-point about halfway through when it looks like Amy and the kids may get away, but they botch their escape. This scene didn't ring true at all, and any tenuous grasp which PREY had on me was lost at that point.

I know that we all enjoy the little perks which can come with our jobs, but I can't help but imagine that that principal actors in PREY signed on just to get a scenic tour of Africa. Bridget Moynahan has shown poise in big-budget films and it's just sad to see the once great Peter Weller reduced to doing a one-note movie like this. And don't be fooled by the DVD cover art, as there just isn't that much lion action in the movie. PREY is a botched, boring movie and it makes 70s stinkers like GRIZZLY look good. If someone says that they found this film exciting, they're lion.

PREY roams the veldt on DVD courtesy of The Weinstein Company Home Entertainment. The film has been letterboxed at 2.35:1 and the transfer is enhanced for 16 x 9 TVs. The image looks very good, as it's quite sharp and clear. The bulk of the film takes place in a bright daylight on a barren landscape and the lack of grain or intrusive defects from the source material is quite impressive. The colors look fine and the framing appears to be accurate. I noted no video noise and just a hint of artifacting. The DVD carries a Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track which does a good job. The dialogue is clear and audible, as are the sound effects. The growling of the lions offers some nice subwoofer action, and the sound design offers good stereo and surround effects with the rustling grasses.

There are no extra features on this DVD.




There are no extras on this DVD


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Review by Mike Long. All Right Reserved. 2007. ©