Prey (2021) poster

Prey (2021)


Germany. 2021.


Director/Screenplay – Thomas Sieben, Story – Sonja Ewers & Thomas Sieben, Producers – Sonja Ewers & Barbara Mientus, Photography – Andreas Berger, Music – Michael Kamm & Maximilian Stephan, Visual Effects – Automatik VFX (Supervisor – Jean-Michel Boublil), Special Effects Supervisor – Gerhard Voll, Production Design – Agi Dawaachu. Production Company – Senator Film/Wild Bunch Germany.


David Kross (Roman), Hanno Koffler (Albert), Robert Finster (Peter), Yung Ngo (Vincent), Klaus Steinbacher (Stefan), Livia Matthes (Lisa), Maria Ehrich (Eva)


A group of five friends go canoeing in the national forest for Roman’s bachelor party. Just as they go to return to their vehicle, someone opens fire on them with a rifle, wounding Vincent. The group are forced to flee as the hunter, which turns out to be a woman, comes after them.

Prey was the fourth film for German director Thomas Sieben who had previously made the non-genre likes of Distance (2020), The Dam (2013) and the abduction and imprisonment thriller Kidnapping Stella (2019).

There has been an uptick in wilderness horror films around the 2020-1 season with the likes of Alone (2020), Hunted (2020), Hunter Hunter (2020), Apex (2021) and The Retreat (2021), plus yet another version of the quintessential tale The Most Dangerous Game (2022), and a couple of films with people trapped in very high places with Fall (2022) and The Ledge (2022). One can speculate that this sudden surge of interest may have something to do with filmmakers shooting during the Corona Virus pandemic and taking advantage of the outdoors because it is away from other people and using small casts to help prevent exposure to potential infection.

The premise of Prey harkens back to King of the Hill (2007) about two passing motorists being hunted across country by unseen snipers. The killer here gets a different explanation but the idea is the same. Things starts with an out-of-the-blue jolt as the group are returning to their SUV and Yung Ngo is hit by a bullet as they gradually realise that the situation is something more than just an accidental shot. The scene where the hunter is revealed as a woman who abruptly turns and shoots at the party contains one of the most effective jolts of the film.

David Kross, Hanno Koffler and Robert Finster in Prey (2021)
David Kross, Hanno Koffler and Robert Finster attempt to survive in the wilderness

Prey is an okay film but it is never one that gives you a gut feeling of the sheer horror of wilderness survival as you get in works such as Deliverance (1972) or Jungle (2013). It is a film with occasional dramatic tensions but nothing that leaves you gripping the armrest in tension. You feel as though it could have been so much more than it is. The psychological motivation we are given for the woman’s actions – a hunter killed her daughter so she has picked up a rifle and started hunting all men – seems paperback psychology taken to a ridiculously one-dimensional extreme.

Prey should not be confused with a host of other films with the same title, including also Norman J. Warren’s alien horror film Prey (1978), the Australian horror Prey (2004), the killer lion film Prey (2007), another Australian horror film Prey (2009), the desert island horror Prey (2019) and the Predator sequel Prey (2022).

Trailer here

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