Brian O’Malley’s directorial debut is set almost entirely in a small, remote police station. Constable Rachel Heggie is about to begin her first shift, having been relocated; from where? we do not know. Nothing is as it seems in this world. The night begins quietly with two officers having sexual escapades whilst Heggie and her sergeant are left to watch over two arrested civilians. When a silent stranger is brought in with a head injury things start to take a turn for the worse. As the night progresses and the midnight hour approaches, each character must face their secrets and sins, becoming increasingly threatened and manipulated by the station’s latest arrival. Let Us Prey feels like a mash-up of The Final Destination and the Hammer Horror films of the seventies. It is a grim tale of damnation and death which all takes place within a confined space, adding to the tension of the unpredictable plot. From start to finish the film is relentlessly unnerving; full of jumps and twists to keep your fists clenched until its dramatic and operatic finale. The screening was followed by a question and answer session with the film’s director, writers and five of its actors. The cast and crew spoke of their lack of time and limited budget as well as the complications with scripts which was eventually changed by numerous individuals. Let Us Prey makes great use of its minuscule budget. Original and realistic special effects, plus an abundance of believable gore, makes for convincing viewing.
Sadly, the film’s production problems, in regards to script and time, are visible in what is an ambitious but rushed horror film. The performances are all excellent with the film’s antagonist, played by Liam Cunningham, being handed the best chunks of the inconsistent dialogue and adding to the film’s suspense and eccentricity. The soundtrack is enthralling; reconfirming that 80s synthesizers are well and truly back in film-score fashion. The movie moves steadily and makes the most of its 90 minutes. There is a lot to admire in this story of demons and purgatory but its phenomenally cinematic opening sequence sets our expectations a little too high. Let Us Prey is a fitting tribute to the days of Hammer Horror but lacks a real heart and narrative. As the black crows descend, so does chaos and judgement. You’re left wondering where all of the town’s residents are but it soon becomes apparent that this police station may just be a metaphor for something much more sinister. Let Us Prey has some great ideas but fails to do them justice; lacking real substance. Still, it’s certainly entertaining as far as modern horror goes. Death’s waiting room is filled with terror and all we have to do is wait for the anarchy to commence.
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