Thursday, 7 May 2009
It wouldn’t be fair to call Prey the worst Australian film of the year. Not because the year isn’t even half over – honestly, there is zero chance of a worse film coming along – but because despite its’ many, many, many, many flaws, it gets one thing right: it’s not boring. Sure, part of the reason why it’s not boring is because when you lose interest in the rubbish dialogue, appalling acting, and nonsensical plot you can always keep an eye out for some of the amazingly obvious bloopers scattered throughout this cheaply made car crash, but that takes nothing away from the fact that this roughly 75 minute long film (not counting the classic 80s horror movie trailers that were shown at the screening I attended) has just enough going on to keep you watching until the laughable final twist. So what’s it about? Buggered if I know, and I just watched it: various behind-the-scenes dramas – including the removal of the director – mean that this film most likely would have made very little sense even before the producers were forced to remove all culturally insensitive references to an Aboriginal curse. So we’re left with roughly half a story: a bunch of mildly attractive non-actors decide to drive out into the bush, only to get lost after buying a road map from Nicolas Bell (Bad Eggs, Newstopia, The Games – none of which were as funny on purpose as this is by accident) and ending up near some mystical sandpit on a soundstage where giant snakes turn people into flaming zombies or something. People promptly die, but not in an overly gory way despite someone being crushed under a car, someone else’s head exploding after being bitten by a zillion snakes and someone wandering off in a sandstorm and later being found with his back missing. Then someone gets their pointy new age crystal shoved through their chest and the survivors start chainsawing up the corpses to stop them coming back as zombies. Oh, and they drive around for a while but can’t seem to escape the soundstage, which only becomes a problem when they decide to leave one of their three cars behind – not having enough living bodies to fill three cars anymore – only for us to then be shown footage of the same three cars driving around trying to get out. Whoops. Fortunately there’s the dodgiest lesbian hand massage / seduction scene ever put on bad digital video to keep the laughs coming, not to mention a pointless (read: clothes-on) shower scene that takes place after four people have died in the exact same location as the shower - which, if nothing else, shows an admirable commitment to good hygiene. The ending makes no sense at all and presumably was filmed without a script, as it involves a previously evil-seeming ghost turning up to provide useful advice and save the day… or maybe it was bad advice and everyone goes to Hell, it’s honestly impossible to tell at this stage as clearly even the supernatural forces just want this film to end. It seems to have become a rule that if you want to make money in Australian film you make a horror movie, because no matter how rubbish it is you can always find some chumps who’ll pay to go see it. Prey puts that theory to a test more rigorous and extensive than anyone could have previously suspected possible. But hey, so long as there’s badly re-dubbed swear-free dialogue to look out for, you’ll never be bored.