A mysterious stranger comes wandering into the police precinct of a quiet and remote Irish community. He seems to know an awful lot about the darkest secrets of everyone that is there and clearly intents to mess up their minds beyond repair.
The plot of ‘Let Us Prey’ might very well be derivative and predictable (I can already list at least 5 similar titles without even thinking too hard), but debuting writer/director Brian O’Malley nevertheless managed to deliver a compelling, brutal and sinisterly atmospheric horror/thriller. Straight from the eerie opening sequences – with a particular fascination for black birds, by the way – you’ll immediately notice that O’Malley must be a tremendous genre lover and definitely knows the classics. The script borrows all kind of ideas and elements from different horror sub-genres, from raw ’70s grindhouse features to grotesquely silly 80′s slashers, but somehow everything neatly and coherently interweaves into a tense and gruesome little film.
Liam Cunningham, the extremely charismatic and marvelous actor who previously starred in ‘Dog Soldiers’ (2002) and Dario Argento’s ‘The Card Player’ (2004), is well-cast as the mysterious stranger (complete with beard and clichéd long raincoat) who comes wandering into the police precinct of a quiet and remote Irish community. He seems to know an awful lot about the darkest secrets of everyone that is there – cops as well as petty criminals – and clearly intents to penalize them and mess up their minds beyond repair. It’s up to Constable Rachel Heggie (Pollyanna McIntosh), on her very first night at a new location, to deal with the overload of maniacal tendencies that suddenly come to the surface.
The Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival promoted ‘Let Us Prey’ as – and I quote – a demonic version of John Carpenter‘s ‘Assault On Precinct 13′. That is actually a rather apt description, and I can also add the film is properly produced and brings forward impressive special effects, make-up art and a handful of cool stunts. The primarily stern plot makes a couple of absurd loops near the end, including the most derailed serial killer in recent cinema history, and admirers of harsh violence and explicit slaughter certainly won’t be disappointed. Cunningham receives good and solid support from the rest of the cast, including powerful females Pollyanna McIntosh (watch Lucky McKee‘s ‘The Woman’ if you dare) and Hanna Stanbridge, whom I already admired in the obscure ‘Outcast’ (2010) and whose accent makes Irish sound like the sexiest language on earth.
Trailer on YouTube.