Horror films and psychological thrillers have been a personal favourite over recent months. When Thomas Sieben’s Netflix film Prey was released on September 10th, 2021, I had high expectations and palpable but enjoyable trepidation. Turns out it is a poor The Ritual rip-off with little to no suspense.
In truth, Prey is an awful bore that is forgettable from the moment the credits roll and, despite the feeble attempts at high-strung action, melodrama and thrills, it falls short.
The German thriller opens with a couple engaging in passionate love-making on the beach and then cuts to the scene where a group of five friends go hiking in the forest. They are then hunted by an unknown assailant who is a sharpshooter hell-bent on their demise. The 90-minute-long film has a lot of absurd points throughout and after a certain moment feels like a long-drawn saga of crumbling friendships and testing loyalties.
The music is supposed to make the viewers uneasy and add to the unsettling feel of the film. It is initially quite captivating as one sees the friends kayak their ways into the forest. What happens to the boat? Nobody knows. The film is filled with such tiny loopholes that take away the realism of the film.
The film slowly becomes more predictable. From the shooter being shrouded by the thick vegetation of the forest to the allusions of one of the friends sleeping with his brother’s fiancee — the filmmaker tries his best to compile the cliche tension-inducing tropes in the film but loses his voice in the process. The flashbacks in the film do not add to the plot as the entire story is pretty predictable.
The viewers will perhaps feel empty even after knowing the predicament of the friends. Their suffering seems to be portrayed in an extremely bland manner. The incident that causes the assailant to take up the gun and shoot absolutely anyone in the forest does not add to the emotional depth of the film. The survival-thriller trope is majorly overdone and Sieben has nothing new to offer except the overwhelming and intimidating wilderness in the german woods that add visual beauty to the film.
Prey is pretty forgettable with little-to-no thrill factors. Skip it if you are looking for something captivating and check out the other thrillers available on Netflix, for Prey is simply not worth your time. Watch it only if you are bored enough to watch something on a lazy Sunday afternoon!