Prey (2007)

Prey (2007)

Out here, you’re the endangered species…

A father takes his two kids and his new girlfriend on holiday to South Africa for a bonding and peacemaking session whilst he oversees the construction of a new damn. The girlfriend and the kids take an off-road safari tour with a guide, only to fall victim to a trio of very hungry man-eating lions.


Prey is a perfect example of how to grind together all of the killer animal clich├ęs so much that the resulting powder just blows away in the wind. It’s a tedious eighty-two minutes of the same tired routine – a group trapped in jeep realise they need to leave the jeep for some reason and then promptly get chased by the lions back into the jeep. If it’s not one character needing the bathroom, it’s another one spotting the keys lying on the floor to running over and getting help from some local hunters. The problem is that the gaps between leaving the jeep seem to get longer and longer, meaning there’s nothing but a lot of sitting around watching the lions outside.

It’s a thin premise stretched out over the running time and padded out with lots of family drama. We’ve got a spoiled little brat and daddy’s new girlfriend – the two don’t see eye to eye and are constantly at each other’s throats. I’m sure a night in the middle of the plains of Africa will do the trick to bond them together come the end of the film. Hold the sick bag please. The lions hang around outside the jeep for most of the film, probably laughing in amusement at the characters constant whining and moaning to each other.

Peter Weller is criminally underused here. He’s always been a pretty solid actor but never seems to get anything other than cheap B-movies and even worse throwaway parts. I would have at least expected (and preferred) him to have been stuck in the jeep with the rest of the family. At least it would have given us some more macho action with him making gung-ho plans to save his family. Instead the female characters spend their time moaning to each other about how they hate each other and how they love their father/husband-to-be and the little boy just gives up and lays down out of the way. At no point do you ever think that they are in any danger and as soon as we meet some minor characters, you know they’re going to be the sacrificial lambs (the guide, the local hunters and that crazy lion guy who tracks the family down).

The good thing about the film is the use of real lions. I’m hazarding a guess that lions aren’t the easiest things to work the camera just how you want them to so it’s a credit to the behind-the-scenes team of trainers and handlers that the lions behave as well as they do most of the time. I certainly wouldn’t want to be one of the numerous stunt guys who find themselves being mauled and mangled. There’s some brief shots of CGI when the script necessitates (you can’t blow up real lions now can you?) and I’m sure I saw an odd puppet head for close-ups but the majority of screen time is given to the real deals. And they get wild at times, ripping apart numerous fodder characters in sublimely gory detail. I’d like to see more killer lion flicks if they can chew their food up with this much mess and devastation! Unfortunately it’s nowhere near enough violence to save this sorry mess of a film. Watching lions on The Discovery Channel was never as dull as this. At least they cut their footage down to show the highlights, not the entire stalk-and-kill routine.


Prey is a very slow, dull and pretty pointless thriller. I can’t call it horror because it’s not scary enough, nor do generic thrillers contain killer lions. Maybe I’ll just call it a poor film.





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