Let Us Prey

If you’re going to bill your film as a ‘biblical horror version of Assault On Precinct 13’ you’d better make damn sure that the thing lives up to that legacy and is a worthwhile experience, and Let Us Prey is a terrible one from icky start to unpleasant finish and all the way in between. One day a mysterious stranger called 6 (Liam Cunningham) literally walks out of the ocean along the coast and ends up in county lockup under the collective watch of Scotland’s sleaziest small town police force. He then makes everyone’s life literally hell by forcing the cops and fellow prisoners alike to confront their sins and… well die, I guess, his motivations never seem too clear. The staff consists of deviants, killers and violent sexual offenders to the point I wondered how the fuck there weren’t proper background checks in the academy, but oh well. Cunningham is a terrific actor and does all he can playing what’s clearly supposed to be the devil, but the film is so murky, muddled and disorganized that not even his slick performance and a sometimes witty script can do anything to pull it out of the quicksand of haggis it wilfully wanders into. The characters are mostly vile, idiotic, psychopathic and very annoying characters, their dark deeds shown in flashbacks that are needlessly gratuitous, cruelly exploitative and explicitly show extreme violence and sexual torture inflicted on children, which I could have done without and I’d warn anyone who gets easily upset by that to keep a wide berth. Pollyanna Mackintosh as the precinct’s only good cop is also the only character with any redeeming qualities but she spends the film so terrified and traumatized it’s tough to root for her beyond wishing her character would pack up and leave for a less tasteless, bitter hearted film. Cunningham’s Satan is charismatic and almost likeable in a sardonic way but he’s just doing his job I suppose, and Liam has a way of making any character resonate no matter the quality of the film. It’s got an intense, stylized opening credits sequence but beyond that, this is needlessly excessive trash with a barely discernible storyline and far too much ill advised gore, nihilistic barbarism and crass inhumanity. Fucken waste of time.

-Nate Hill

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