PREY (2009)

Starring Gregoire Colin, François Levental and Bérénice Bejo

Directed by Antoine Blossier

Written by Antoine Blossier and Erich Vogel

eOne Entertainment


Everyone knows the world is going to hell in a hand basket, especially horror filmmakers, who have used the ongoing pollution of the planet as the basis of some of cinema’s most macabre monsters since at least the ‘70s. (Hello, Prophecy.) Hell, even the giant monster movies of the ‘50s – Them!, Tarantula, Godzilla among them – were created or awoken thanks to mankind’s meddling with nature.

Prey (or Proie as it was titled in its native France) is the latest in that long line of nature-gone-amuck titles. First-time filmmakers Antoine Blossier and Erich Vogel set their tale on a farm besieged by freakishly large and vicious boars. The rage of the beasts, which sport freakishly large teeth and have been chomping on the local deer population, may have something to do with the toxic pesticides created by the family of our protagonist Nathan (Colin), a doctor whose pregnant fiancée Claire (Bejo) may not keep their baby. Family drama ensues as city boy Nathan joins his future family-in-law for a little hunting. But even his more macho companions aren’t prepared for the utter savagery of the chemically altered beasts, and it soon becomes apparent that it’s going to take more than guns to stop them.

Director Blossier and co-screenwriter Vogel do an admirable job of setting up a believable family dynamic, one where the demands of the marketplace have trumped commonsense, leading Claire’s ex-husband Nicolas (Levental) to develop the toxic pesticide in a bid to save the family business. The jealousy between Claire’s men is also realistic, as is their subsequent treachery. Blossier’s cast is talented and sells the story, even as they are being terrorized by giant boars.

Speaking of which, the meagreness of the director’s budget only becomes apparent when it comes time to show us the beasts. While no gore has been skimped (there are plenty of dead deer and mutated wildlife on display), the boars themselves are only seen in close-up or indicated by the rustling of the underbrush. The old horror saw of ‘don’t show them the monster’ does not work well in this instance. Likewise, just as Blossier’s money seems to have run out at some point, so did his imagination, as the film’s ending is jarringly abrupt, if appropriate.

As an indictment of capitalistic greed, Prey has a lot more meat on its bones than the average monster movie. As a monster movie, its achievements are outstripped by its aspirations, but c’est la vie in the world of low-budget filmmaking.


Rating: 3/5


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