Friday, June 3, 2011

Prey [1978]

Strange lights in the sky awaken Jessica from her sleep – she’s scared she runs to Jo – her lover in the next room – who is more than willing to calm her down. Anderson is making out with his girlfriend in the woods when he gets out to take a pee is attacked. The next morning Anderson shows up at Jessica & Jo’s country house looking dazed and acting concussed – they invite him to stay with them. But there’s something wrong with Anderson - he’s possessed by an alien!

This is an acting tour de force! Each character is so extremely messed up that you it brings up the obvious question – “who’s the real monster?”

Jessica is just too naïve to be believed – or are all Canadians like that? (ha ha – sorry guys) She obviously lost her parents in a sudden and traumatic way that allowed Jo to sweep in and “help” her by basically kidnapping her. Yet, she’s overly trusting of this strange man who literally wanders into their house – and she’s immediately drawn to him as a lover. Then again – Jessica is the only one who points out the strangeness of Anderson - how he never eats – or how his name is ANDERS ANDERSON!

Anders Anderson is obviously messed in the head to the point where I wouldn’t feel comfortable around him so why would two women living alone in the country feel comfortable around him beats me. He’s played very low key and withdrawn – yet has an extremely profound moment where the three of them are playing hide & seek and he tells Jessica that she’s a prisoner of Jo’s. I can see the importance of having Anderson deliver that particular line – but it’s so out of character that it’s just not believable.

Jo is comically militant. She belittles Anderson for being a male in so many annoying ways that she should’ve noticed right away that Anderson wasn’t reacting – and instead of Jessica pointing out Anderson’s oddities - it should’ve been Jo. She emasculates Anderson by dressing him up as a woman at a party after he does a very manly thing and saves the women from the fox (who was the patsy for Anderson’s blood lust). Yet, she awkwardly tries to kiss Anderson while they are dancing – which shows some cracks in Jo yet that doesn’t seem to affect her past that particular scene.

The directing of Norman J. Warren is standard in this film. There are only few highlights to his craft – namely the ending chase scene - along with the bizarre “drowning” scene (which is worth watching the film for). One reoccurring part of the film seemed like they kind of threw together some b-roll and a voice overdub to make up for a ‘nada scene’ – which is just poor directing.

The writing as I pointed out above doesn’t really add up. Motives of the characters are uncertain and character depth is never really given to each of them 3 main characters. I should also point out that the story is more of a series of odd events – than a full on plot. I do particularly like how the sex scenes are quite cynical and disturbing – it was a welcomed touch to go along with the extreme characters – so I’ll give kudos to the screenplay for that.

It was a fine movie that drew me in with it’s acting – yet not much further in than that.

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