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PREY

SYNOPSIS:
Six friends head to the outback on a four-wheel drive adventure and come face-to-face with an ancient supernatural evil. The three couples drive into a sacred site where they unknowingly awaken a 5000 year-old curse. Inspired by true unsolved events.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Popular singers Natalie Imbruglia and Natalie Bassingthwaighte made their big role big screen debuts within weeks, the former in Closed for Winter, the latter in Prey. Although both show promise as actresses, they have not chosen the most promising (or popular) projects to launch with.

Supernatural thriller meets splatter movie meets clunky horror (with chainsaw), meets zombie movie ... Prey is a hybrid that doesn't have enough juice in any of the genres in which plays to be effective, despite some promise in its conception. With claims to be inspired by unsolved events, the screenplay jumbles together the elements of outback ghost story with curses, serpents, a white sorcerer and a mysterious female witch - but none of it gels into a coherent story. Not even after the manipulations of the filmmakers, who arrange for the three males to be eliminated one by one. Until they come back in a zombie-like trance, ready to do evil. Unconvincingly.

The soundtrack is rocky but mostly inappropriate and the film's visual style is what might be called TVC - the kind of tv commercial that promotes cars for the outback. But TV commercials are short and in this case, the tone changes several times through the film's running time, never sure where to point our sensibilities. Without enough characterisation to get us involved and lacking in storytelling strength, Prey lets our attention wander, instead of gripping it.

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 1
Mixed: 0

PREY (M)
(Aust, 2009)

CAST: Natalie Bassingthwaighte, Jesse Johnson, Natalie Walker, Ben Kermode, Christian Clark, Kristin Sargent, Nicholas Bell, Dawn Klingberg, Joe Hashem

PRODUCER: Robert Lewis Gelinsky, Elizabeth Howatt-Jackman

DIRECTOR: Oscar D'Roccster

SCRIPT: John V. Soto

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Andrew Topp

EDITOR: Geoff Hitchins

MUSIC: Dale Cornelius

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Harvey Mawson, Lance Whitehouse

OTHER: Tristan Meredith (sound design); SharpFX (special effects make up)

RUNNING TIME: 86 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Damage Releasing

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: May 7, 2009 (Vic, NSW, Qld)







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