LET US PREY (UK/Ireland/18/92mins) Directed by Brian O’Malley. Starring Liam Cunningham, Pollyanna McIntosh, Bryan Larkin, Hanna Stanbridge, Douglas Russell, Niall Greig Fulton, Jonathan Watson. THE PLOT: It’s a gloomy night in deepest, darkest Scotland, and a hard rain is plainly about to fall. That it should fall on a smalltown cop shop makes for a convenient gathering of sinners and suckers, the arrival of a mysterious stranger (Cunningham, in full Man In Black mode) sparking off flashbacks for everyone there to their darkest hour. No one, not even the doctor called in to look after a convulsing prisoner, is safe, as each of their pasts comes back to not only haunt them but to cleverly finish each one of them off. The only soul that seems safe is new cop on the beat Rachel (McIntosh), and she soon finds herself having to go full Ripley to survive this night of fire and brimstone… THE VERDICT: Bejiggers and bejapers, we Irish are getting awful good with our scary movies and super creeps. Must be something to do with the recession. Our inner demons are bursting out, LET US PREY following hot on the bloodied heels of Ivan Kavanagh’s recent offering, THE CANAL. The fact that there’s a generation of young Irish filmmakers more than happy to embrace genre filmmaking shows just how far we’ve come. There’s no need to struggle with our national identity, our troubled history, or the dark arts of growing up in a strict Catholic smalltown. The black magic on offer here is universal, and all the more enjoyable for it.
Cunningham – a long-time collaborator with director Brian O’Malley – must have had a lot of fun doing so very, very little here (thus making his slow-moving shark all the scarier), whilst McIntosh – she with the child-bearing lips and unfortunate CV entries, such as LAND OF THE LOST, BURKE AND HARE and FILTH – does a fine job channelling Sigourney Weaver’s most famous character.
A slow, tantalising assault on the senses, LET US PREY might slip into B-movie territory every now and then, but a little B-movie every now and then is good for the soul. RATING: 4/5 Review by Paul Byrne