Prey (2004)

Rating:

Australia. 2004.

Crew

Director/Screenplay/Producer/Photography – Trevor McBain, Music – Ross Crowley, Special Effects Supervisor – Aaron Baucaire

Cast

Christopher Doughty (Paul Harroe), Lakesh Parag (Jason Doggett), Anita Rus (Sharon), Neville Rosengren (Hudson), Nic Adams (Terry), Andrew McBain (The Yowie), Dale Azzopardi (Ross Jacobs), Rob Bender (Tim Stewart), Jessica Illichmann (Simone Stewart)


Plot

Rangers on an Australian state forest find people in the area are being attacked by a fierce mythical creature known as a Yowie. Several of the rangers survive one attack and flee across country after their vehicle breaks down. With the Yowie hunting them, they take refuge in a small cottage in the woods.


Prey is an Australian-made horror film from newcomer director Trevor McBain. The film exists in different forms. It was originally released as the 66-minute long feature-length version seen here. More widely seen has been the condensed 20-minute version, which has screened at various film festivals.

Prey is a modest and reasonably well-made monster movie. As a debuting filmmaker, Trevor McBain directs with a slick and professional look. He displays a good grasp of the mechanics of the genre and moves the film along with a fair degree of suspense. The whole film has essentially been contrived around the initial appearances of the Yowie with the substantial bulk of the story then consisting of a cross-country flight by a group of people and their siege in a cottage. The extended climactic scenes with the survivors cornered in the farmhouse are well sustained. The monster is about the one aspect that looks B-budgeted and it is here that McBain never quite grasps the virtue of many other B-budget films in keeping glimpses of it to a near-subliminal minimum.

There is a reasonable attention paid to characters who all have credible reactions to the situation, which is the basis of any good survival horror film. Most of the performances in the film – all unknown newcomers – are convincing and do not let the show down. There is never any explanation given for The Yowie, except for a few vague comments about it being a mythical creature.

Prey should not be confused with some ten other films using the same identical title. Most of these are short films but others include Norman J. Warren’s alien horror film Prey (1978) and the killer lion film Prey (2007), as well as another unrelated Australian horror film Prey (2009).


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