Tom Newman (Peter Weller) can?t join his family on their first African Adventure vacation due to urgent business obligations, but hopes the trip will provide a chance for his son and daughter to bond with his new young wif... more »e, Amy (Bridget Moynahan). Their ranger, Brian, decides to add some extra thrills and adventure to their trip and takes them "off roading." All is well until Amy and the 2 kids become lost in a labyrinthine game reserve and begin to be stalked by savage lions who won?t quit until they have dinner. The film is described as "Jaws in the African bush" and will keep you on the edge of your seat until the final seconds.« less
John G. (Ohnnybear) from TALLAHASSEE, FL Reviewed on 12/16/2011...
Great movie! If you like suspense, action, and good old entertainment. My 11 year old daughter likes to show this movie when she has sleepovers with her friends. A little gory at times, but no fowl language or sexual content.
2 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
Prey Will Having You Praying . . . Riveting Entertainment!
Steven Hedge | Somewhere "East of Eden" | 02/05/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I found this little low-budget film to be very disturbing and intense. Make no mistake that is a survival film and you've seen this kind of thing before; however, that doesn't make this nifty little film any less powerful and at a brisk 90 minutes, you'll feel exhausted when this film ends.
The acting is generally good. Moynaham of I, Robot fame, as the stepmom saddled with 2 bratty kids is very believable and will often remind you in looks and speech of Sandra Bullock. The oldest child is very effective in her role, but her character will, forgive the pun, eat away at your nerves to the point where you want Moynaham to simply kick the broken down jeep's door open and feed her to the damn lions. The youngest child is so awful in his role that you would swear on a stack of Bibles that he's reading his lines off of posterboards. Peter Weller, the Robocop Trilogy and recent villain on TV's 24 - Season Five, as the dad is reliable as always and he's always been a very underrated actor. I enjoy seeing him on the History Channel where he hosts ancient worlds specials (wherein he holds a Master's degree from Syracuse University and, I believe, is an adjunct professor).
The death scenes are absolutely chilling and intense and not unlike the death scenes in Jaws. They are that riveting and horrific. I promise you that you will not forget them. There are enough "rest" scenes in the film between the lion attacks and they are used well. The character interactions between the stepmom and the oldest resentful stepdaughter are believable no matter how ill-timed they are. Imagined being trapped with someone that you hate. It happens and it is played out believably here. The majority of this film takes place in the broken down tourist Jeep the ranger takes off-roading at the family's expense for some extra "fun."
This "trapped in a car" scenario is rather remincent of Stephen King's Cujo, an excellent film, wherein Dee Wallace Stone is trapped in her car with her sick son by their rapid family dog, Cujo, on a blistering hot day. They spend a good 2/3rds of that film trying to get from the car in the driveway to the inside of the house and away from the dog before they die in the car from the heat and lack of water just as they do in the film "Prey." "Prey" focuses on that same claustrophobic panic and we feel it as an audience. It is very effectively communicated thanks to good direction and acting.
The plot of "Prey" has some significant holes and they can be very annoying, but panic and stupidity drives most of these people to do what they do. It is, however, VERY hard to believe that an experienced ranger would take a family off-roading in a very dangerous area to stop and have a kid do #2 in a lion-infested area. If you are willing to suspend your disbelief for that scene which sets up the story, then the rest is going to go down fairly easily.
I highly recommend this film, flaws and all, for the intense action sequences, skilled direction, and the overall good acting by the major players. This film rarely lets up on the suspense and you will remember it long after seeing it."
Not bad. Not great. Just decent.
trashcanman | Hanford, CA United States | 08/03/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
""Prey" is a horror film that runs straight down the middle. It borrows elements from other films, doesn't take any chances, but delivers some solid suspense, violence, and scares. Horror veterans won't see anything they haven't seen before done better, but I think casual fans looking for a thrill will find it here. This may not be saying much, but it's the second best killer lion flick I've ever seen.
The story is this: two kids go on a safari with their new stepmom, guide goes offroad, kid has to go to the bathroom, lions eat the incompetent guide, guide had the keys to the landrover, now they're screwed. But isn't that similar to an episode of "The Simpsons"? Yes. Yes it is. Thanks for noticing. And isn't being trapped in a vehicle with kids in an isolated area with no supplies and a murderous beast stalking you the plot to Cujo? Mmm-hmmm. And afterThe Ghost and the Darkness don't you think they've pretty much done what they can do with a movie about killer lions? I'd say so. But then again, originality has never really been the hallmark of the horror genre. In fact the lack of new material is the only really large complaint I can level against "Prey". Then again, it is tagged with the annoying "based on true events" tag so I guess you can overlook the similarities to other films if you want to. It's very competently directed and only real lions were used and they were used effectively. No CG to draw attention to itself or phony puppets to laugh at. Well done.
Now I have a few minor complaints to log in as well. First, haven't we seen enough stories about stepmothers bonding with the teenage stepdaughters who hate them? Also, if I see one more survival horror film where they get the vehicle working and then immediately crash it after they are scot-free I'm going to freak. Eden Lake got away with it, but it still bugs the hell out of me and I'm drawing the line now: NO MORE! Stupidity is a tenet of horror protagonists for some reason, but I think that particular element has run it's course. This one pushes it pretty far. Other then that, I think this flick was pretty realistically done. I'd also like to thank the director for not having a subplot about not being able to get the cellphones to work. Seems like every modern survival horror film has to make a huge show of how the cell-phones aren't charged or have them checking for a signal and giving constant reports about having "no bars". It's a movie, I will happily accept that this is a cell-phone free alternate universe if it will save 15 minutes of screen time spent playing with cell phones. Again, thanks.
Violence, suspense, harrowing horror, stupid protagonists; yup, this is a by-the-numbers fright flick. But it's worth a look if you have a fear of lions -which admittedly are one of the most intimidating creatures on God's green Earth- or are just looking for something to kill an hour and a half of your time. If you haven't seen it all, this will likely be a very effective thriller. It's definitely no "Ghost and the Darkness", but it's not half bad for such a low-profile film. Give it a try."
Arnita D. Brown | USA | 03/29/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
"While working in a dam in Africa, the American hydraulic engineer Tom Newman brings his family to spend a couple of days in the Leopard's Rest Lodge. His fourteen year-old daughter Jessica is having friction with her stepmother Amy since she does not accept the divorce of her parents. On the next morning, Amy, Jessica and her brother David go in a game drive with a ranger while Tom goes to the dam. While driving off-road, they stop for a minute for David, and unexpectedly they are attacked by a group of starving lions that kill and eat the ranger. Amy, Jessica and David are trapped in the jeep and stalked by the wild lions. When Tom returns to the hotel and finds that his family has not returned from the game, he asks for help to the experienced hunter and guide Crawford and together they seek Tom's family. For a low budget movie, I found this movie quite entertaining. This movie doesn't take long to pick up, within 15 minutes of the movie, you will be curious to watch the survival plot of humans against beast. It's quick, fun and interesting. It's worth a rental."
B. E Jackson | Pennsylvania | 03/05/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Don't expect a quality suspense with this one. Just... don't, haha.
Expect one of the most predictable storylines you can imagine. Two kids and their stepmom are trapped inside a car somewhere in Africa because three lions just will NOT leave them alone.
Every time they try to leave the car the lions are waiting in the weeds for them. Do lions *really* treat people this way? I don't think so. I think in real life they don't even care about humans unless they feel like they're being threatened.
The poor little boy had to spend two whole nights without getting the chance to use the bathroom! Feel for him.
In one spot, the driver of the car actually took his keys with him while taking the little boy to the bathroom, so an unnecessary search for the keys had to take place after the driver was killed graphically. D'oh!
I can't remember why the father didn't tag along for the ride, but it doesn't matter.
The three people trapped in the car try the most predictable means of chasing away the lions, but none of them work. What a clumsy driver the stepmom is too. VERY clumsy. Silly girl. You're not supposed to drive between trees and over cliffs- you're supposed to stay on the dirt road. We even have dirt roads in America! She should have known what dirt roads look like.
Anyway, the stepmom and the daughter HATE each other. The daughter constantly finds ways to criticize anything she doesn't like about the woman. She really needed to grow up though. Seriously, we all act that way towards our step parents (even *I* do it sometimes -as an adult- and feel embarrassed about it later) but this girl was *really* hard on her stepmom. She was just trying her best to please and protect the kids. Completely unfair.
I don't think she was technically a stepmom- more like the girls father's girlfriend by that point.
Anyway, the father eventually finds an Australian man who doesn't even WANT to help the poor guy find his family. He changes his mind when there's talk of giving him anything he wants though. That always helps.
Predictable storyline, and a surprising amount of blood. That's what this film is all about. A good rental."
Never Go Off-Road When You're Already Off-Road!
K. Fontenot | The Bayou State | 09/10/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Tom Newman (Peter Weller) brings his two children and his new, younger wife, Amy (Bridget Moynahan) to Africa to spend some time with them while he's working on an African dam project. His daughter, Jessica (Carly Schroeder), is upset about her parents' divorce, and wants nothing to do with Amy. Hoping to form a bond between them, Newman suggests that his daughter and new wife, along with his son, David (Connor Dowds), take a ride through a game reserve on their way to the lodge where they will spend the rest of their vacation while he finishes up on some work.
While touring the reserve, young David needs to use the bathroom. The guide and David leave the safety of the SUV they are riding in so that David can do a little "paper work" in the bush. With the tour guide protecting him with a rifle, David commences to relieve himself. Unfortunately for the group, though, David's moving problem has them stopped in the middle of a group of starving lions. The lions make an attempt on catching David, but the guide manages to hold them off long enough for the young boy to make it back to the truck. The guide isn't so lucky and is violently killed by the beasts. This leaves Amy, Jessica, and David alone to swelter in the African heat and do their best in order to survive until someone can find them.
Meanwhile, Tom has made it to the lodge and immediately tries to start a search and rescue mission. Unfortunately the rangers at the lodge can't assist him until daylight. He's put into contact with a local hunter/tracker named Crawford (Jamie Bartlett) who refuses to help Tom at first, but eventually gives in when a payment is offered for his services.
From here, the film bounces from extremely tense (and well-played) moments where the lions attempt to get their paws on the Newman clan to long and drawn out moments of dialogue primarily between Amy and Jessica. In an attempt to keep the story interesting, the three primary players are put into situations ranging from trying to make an escape in the vehicle once they find the keys to making friends with poachers.
The film struggled to hold my interest during its run. It quickly became a victim of its own devices. There have been many better films made where the bulk of the action centers on a small group of individuals in an isolated situation as is the case in "Prey." "The Descent" and "Jaws" immediately come to mind. However, in "Prey," having the group pinned down in a vehicle and making a number of risky and, in at least one situation, ridiculous choices does nothing to keep the story interesting.
The primary subplot of the film, the friction between Amy and Jessica, is instantly predictable and offers nothing to add to the film.
The cast doesn't do a terrible job. Moynahan is sufficient as the stepmother who takes on the task of being a hero while stranded in the bush. Weller doesn't have much to do in this film except become angry for a bit and then desperate to save his family. The children are okay, but both of them visit the overacting department a bit too often for my tastes. If I had to pick out one shining star in the film, I'd have to say it was Jamie Bartlett. His character is about the most interesting thing in the film, and adds a bit of much needed humor to the story as well.
The special effects are dodgy at times. The CGI blood is ridiculous, and fails to rise above similar effects that can be found on SyFy on Saturday nights.
In summary, "Prey" has some wonderful moments that almost make it better than it really is. In the end, however, it is nothing more than a B-movie that doesn't even fall into the "so terrible it's funny" category. Recommended to fans of SyFy channel flicks or films such as "Open Water.""