When director Brian O'Malley introduced his new film, Let Us Prey, via
a prerecording in front of the Toronto After Dark Film Festival he
informed us that his intention was to make a timeless horror classic.
To accomplish this, he set on out to deliver a film that could not be
dated (watching Let Us Prey ten years from now and there is nothing in
the fashion, look or feel of the film that would immediately reference
2014) and that had a synthesizer styled score reminiscent of the great
John Carpenter films of the 1970's and 80's. Check and check.
Let Us Prey stars Liam Cunningham (Game of Thrones) as Six, a mysterious drifter who is hit by a vehicle driven by Caesar (Brian Vernel) on a quiet town road. Casear is immediately taken into custody by first-day-on-the-job Constable Rachel Heggie (Pollyanna McIntosh), but Cunningham's Six character cryptically disappears. It is while at the police station we are introduced to the remainder of the cast which includes a Sargent, two Constables that are lustfully engaged, a wife beating prisoner and a doctor who is called to assist when Six suddenly appears at the front door of the station.
The veteran Constables and Sargent do not immediately warm up to the by-the-book newbie in Rachel, but their personal feelings towards her routine are quickly swept to the side once Six begins to instigate mayhem in the prison taking over the minds and souls of all those with a dark past to hide. And this is when the fun really starts.
Each character shows a history of violence in their backstories from the simple (hit and run) to the extreme (mass murderer) and when a prior transgression is revealed, Six is there to ensure their life pays for their wrongdoing.
With a backdrop of a fantastic musical score (as promised) there are fights, shootings, beatings, murders and attempted murders as things at the station escalate quickly and deadly for all those involved.
Cunningham is a standout and plays the mysterious Six with devilish glee. The film hinges on Cunningham's character and the well-trained thespian delivers the goods with a Clint Eastwood cool. Pollyanna McIntosh is equal to the task as the freshman fish-out-of-water new Constable. She is equally beautiful and tough and McIntosh walks this line with the ease of a veteran.
The story goes a bit off the rails towards the end as some of the character's revealed background stories and subsequent actions are a bit 'out there'. But it is a means to an end to heighten the violence and give the audience the good time expected from the action/horror intention.
Let Us Prey was a surprise delight and the perfect way to begin winding down the Toronto After Dark Film Festival. It was violent and fun and the ending opened the door to a multitude of possibilities and, hopefully, sequels.
Rachel, a rookie cop, is about to begin her first night shift in a neglected police station in a Scottish, backwater town. The kind of place where the tide has gone out and stranded a motley bunch of the aimless, the forgotten, the bitter-and-twisted who all think that, really, they deserve to be somewhere else. They all think they're there by accident and that, with a little luck, life is going to get better. Wrong, on both counts. Six is about to arrive - and All Hell Will Break Loose!
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