Five men are out hiking in the woods, and they soon find themselves being shot at by someone. They have no clue why. So all they can do is run for cover, while a mysterious shooter tracks their trail. How many will finally survive? That is all there is to the 2021 German film “Prey”, written and directed by Thomas Sieben.
Actors David Kross and Hanno Koffler play brothers Roman and Albert. The two are out celebrating the last few days of Roman’s bachelorhood along with three other friends. Just when they are about to get into their car after finishing a hike in a remote national park, where there is no network (obviously), somebody starts shooting at them. It soon becomes evident that whoever is wielding the gun, is making a game out of mortally wounding them.
‘Prey’ has a sharply cut trailer that will get thriller enthusiasts interested, but unfortunately, it doesn’t live up to expectations. Because even though the makers try to explain why the psychotic killer is murdering men in the woods, it’s not satisfactory. The reasoning is stale and predictable, and if you’re used to watching thriller films, you’ll be able to guess the climax early on.
The film does have a few high-points, which manages to create a sense of dread for the first half of the runtime, but from thereon, it’s pretty downhill. A parallel sub-plot about Roman and his fiance told in tiny flashback beach montages doesn’t do much to serve the primary plot. The director should’ve just stuck to the cat-mouse chase, and given more thought to the antagonist. There are also some goof-ups that are irritating, like a scene where Roman is shown to quietly tip-toe close to the murderer – which would’ve never been possible in real life, because the terrain is filled with dried-up leaves, and they make a LOT of noise. No way you can walk on those without attracting the attention of somebody who is made out to be a pro-hunter.
The pace is slow, the acting is unimpressive, the killer isn’t daunting, and the motive is weak. Netflix has nailed the art of making packages look great, even if the product within is disappointing. Like getting a basic 40 dollar Nokia phone in super-fancy wrapping paper, when you wanted an I-phone.
It’s a 5/10 from me.
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