Gabriel Goes Grunge
- Let Us Prey review by Count Otto Black
This movie got some excellent reviews. I can only conclude that the director has a lot of friends and relatives who like writing reviews, because this is yet another no-budget British indie horror film that got a lottery grant because in a desperate bid to revitalize the once-great British film industry they'll throw a wad of cash at practically anything that isn't porn, and then sank without trace because it thoroughly deserved to.
From the ultra-generic synth music and cheap'n'cheesy CGI crows accompanying the opening credits onwards, this ugly, depressing little film demonstrates at every turn why it won't be kick-starting anyone's movie career. As you might expect from the wince-inducing pun in the title, the promotional artwork of a sinister man with big black feathery wings, and everything you see from the get-go, the basic premise is made unsubtly obvious: an angel comes to a small town to judge its resident sinners, and it's not the kind of angel that would look pretty on top of your Christmas tree. And that's about it, really.
Everyone in the small cast (the town seems to be almost deserted for no apparent reason) is utterly vile, apart from the heroine, whose characterization consists of being tough, having something horrible in her past (the nature of which is clumsily revealed far too early), and not being an irredeemably awful person like everybody else. And of course the celestial being, since Liam Cunningham can act better than the rest of the cast put together, some of whom can't act at all. Almost everything done by almost everyone is evil, sordid, irritating, or all of the above, and the cinematography is remorselessly unattractive, no doubt on purpose. The juvenile delinquent "Caesar" (presumably named after the chimpanzee played by Andy Serkis rather than the Emperor of Rome), who gets a great many lines I think we're supposed to find funny, is especially talentless and annoying.
Overall, this movie is drably nasty to look at, very badly written and acted (except for some of Liam Cunningham's scenes), and thoroughly depressing on every level. Don't waste an hour and a half of your time with it, unless you automatically enjoy any film in which nasty people do nasty things before themselves being killed in nasty ways.
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Spoilers follow ...
- Let Us Prey review by NP
This British/Irish film doesn’t present a particularly reassuring image of the police force, at least not in the remote Scottish village in which the story is set. They are either using their patrol duty for sex opportunities or taking steps to make life as uncomplicated as possible for themselves. This is the environment new recruit PC Rachel Heggie (Polyanna McKintosh so good in 2011’a ‘The Woman’, 2014’s ‘White Settlers’ and the ‘Walking the Dead’ television series) walks into.
A mysterious man, known as Six (the always excellent and intense Liam Cunningham) arrives without explanation at the police station and is placed amongst the other prisoners held there – wife-beater Ralph (Jonathan Watson) and a small time crook Caeser (Brian Vernel). The colour-grading is hugely drab: all dawn raw blue and urine yellow. It induces a slightly sickly atmosphere.
This is superbly directed by Brian O’Malley who manages to create some gory death moments virtually guaranteed to lift you from your seat. The ending, and the true identity of Six, remains enigmatic to the end. And yet there is a sense of closure on this particular night’s events that satisfies whilst appearing to be end only of the first chapter of a continuing narrative.
‘Let us Prey’ is a tremendous production that never slackens its pace and doesn’t put a foot wrong. Love it.
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