Monday, 22 July 2013

Review - Prey (2010 - Dir. Antoine Blossier)

Doccortex had the idea that if you're going to try to get into the Olympics there's no point having a go at something like the 100m. You've got no chance. It's way better to partake in something that you don't need a lot of specialist equipment for, keeping the cost down (skiing, sailing, both useless). Yeah, go for something that no-one else really cares about. Until you win the gold medal. Then everybody will want a piece of the action. Maybe something like Championship Cribbage. That'd do.

Antoine Blossier has obviously had a similar thought process when making his first film. Aim for a genre that is virtually non-existent: the killer pig genre. Admittedly they made an appearance in Hannibal, but the whole film didn't focus on them. And Razorback was made way back in 1984. Antoine has spotted a gap in the market and filled it.

Nathan (Gregoire Colin) goes to a family reunion, a fairly dysfunctional family reunion. His wife Claire is pregnant and in the middle of making some tricky decisions about her father's failing pesticide business. Things all kick off when Claire's father is attacked by a startled deer. The men of the family decide to go on a hunting trip...

Pontypool is a great example of a film that has a scale way beyond its budget. It uses sound to make the zombie threat more... well, more threatening. Prey uses the same idea. Pig sounds snuffling all around you, while you hide in some bushes is undoubtably going to make you slightly tense. It works in the film too. There is also the knock on effect that the filmmakers don't have to show the actual pigs too often.

The pigs are rendered in animatronic form and are pretty much just snappy little pig heads, but along with some clever lighting and the sound effects mentioned above, the effect is convincing. I was dreading a badly CGI'd porker leaping out from the undergrowth and flailing around with our hero. Even mega-budget films struggle with animals, such as deer for example. But the abomination never appears. Hooray.

Pretty much all of the main characters eventually reveal themselves to be rather unpleasant fellows. But it doesn't fall into the trap of making them really irritating. You can empathise with some of their more dubious actions. After all, it's been shown time after time that people do strange things when pigs attack.

I wasn't expecting that much from Prey and yet I ended up quite enjoying it. It's not the greatest story ever told and I doubt that there's going to be a mad rush of killer pig films. But in this undercrowded market has Antoine Blossier achieved the gold medal? I think I need to watch some more killer pig films to find out. Shouldn't take too long...

If you like this you could also try:
Razorback, Hannibal, Pig Hunt, Chawz.

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