PREY *** USA 2019 Dir. Franck Khalfoun. 85 mins
After Toby’s father is killed by two carjackers right in their own driveway, he is sent on a survivalist retreat as part of a Lost and Found program for troubled teens. With a bag of survival tools, he’s dropped off on a secluded island near Malaysia to spend three days in isolated contemplation. But during his first night there, he encounters a mysterious figure in the woods. His suspicion that he is not alone on the island is confirmed the next morning when he runs into a girl named Madeleine who teaches him how to find food and build shelter and warns him to stay away from his camp, especially at night. What starts out as a three day excursion becomes a true lesson in survival against a supernatural force that wants to leave the island in Toby’s place.
Prey is your average psychological thriller with a supernatural twist that delivers its share of jump scares. Think of Castaway with a monster. Logan Miller plays Toby as a flawed hero you can root for. Besides his father’s death at the beginning of the film, we don’t know what he was like before or since this life changing event, only that this trip was suggested in order to help him get through this tragedy. If nothing else, the trip gives him something else to think about and a determination to save not only himself but Madeleine from their isolation and the creature that hunts them. The opening sequence is attention-grabbing, but after he is on the island for awhile, things slow down, and I found myself losing interest until the final 15 minutes when the ending kicks into high gear, leading to its shocking ending.
Review by Laura Smith