Monday, October 14, 2013


I watched PREY (2007) yesterday. This direct to DVD potboiler stars the increasingly gruesome looking Peter (ROBOCOP) Weller and Bridget Moynahan. They're husband and new second wife on a working vacation in Africa. Mom Bridget and her two step-children, a boy and a girl, go on a wildlife viewing safari while dad Peter works on a new dam. Their driver and guide decides to go off-road for a closer look at some big game when the son has to go to the bathroom. And not in a bottle. The guide escorts the boy to a tree behind which he can do his business and that's when the trouble begins. Lions.

The lion attacks are filmed from the lions' point-of-view, using a streaky visual effect that, in the good old days, would have been advertised as being filmed in "Lion-O-Vision" or "LionScope". The attacks are actually a fairly good mix of real animals, really big puppets and CGI. Before you know it, the guide is dead and mom and the kids are trapped in their Range Rover. Lesson here: when you've got to poop in the wild in Africa, you damned well better just pinch it off for as long as you can.

To add to the dramatic tension, the step-daughter and step-mom Bridget do NOT get along. Their ordeal continues over the course of a couple of days while dad Peter and big game hunter Jamie Bartlett search for them.

PREY isn't a bad movie. It reminds me of one of those "nature strikes back" thrillers of the 1970s. Shot on location in Africa, the film has acceptable production values and a decent cast. The script tries to throw as many curves as possible into the trio's predicament but nothing can change the fact that we KNOW none of them are going to die. It's just not that kind of a movie.

While watching the film, I was reminded of the non-fiction books of real-life big game hunter Peter Hathaway Capstick. His first book, DEATH IN THE LONG GRASS, which I read and enjoyed many years ago, would make one helluva good movie.

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