Review: “Prey for the Devil” should go back to Sunday school
Review: “Prey for the Devil” Should Go Back to Sunday School
Thankfully, Daniel Stamm’s Prey for the Devil is just a hair shorter than the average church service, so audiences can ask for forgiveness for the money they dared to spend on it.
Let’s embrace one confession first, this film very much tries to retread better works such as The Exorcism and Stamm’s own The Last Exorcism. While it teases a fun romp at times, the plot meanders around its most interesting elements in favor of attempting to present a homage to earlier works.
Jacqueline Byers’ Sister Ann attempts to deliver her lines with a playful charm that feels out of place with the wider tone of the film. Colin Salmon manages to stand out as the rather imposing Father Quinn, but was unfortunately denied much of the screen time he so desperately deserved.
The film’s effects work, while often reserved, seemingly does not match the budget that is seen reflected in the collection of props and set pieces. Tired tricks and meaningless jump scares are all over the place as if to wake up audiences who dozed off upon realizing that the film’s pseudo-feminist narrative fails to do much other than preach in the first act. It’s difficult to try to call the film’s messaging feminist at all with a protagonist who loses her fire, requesting to go back to “[her] place” with the other women after the first failure she endures – only to be given plot relevance again by a man.
While it’s easy to appreciate the effort put into the screenplay’s attempts at building a mystery and typically “safe” cinematography, Prey for the Devil is possessed by multiple moments where it was frankly difficult to determine if it was trying to tell a joke. The inclusion of the protagonist receiving a copy of The Body Keeps The Score feels like a punchline, but it’s placed in a scene that leaves no room for laughter.
With a predictable plot by the first reveal, and not enough runtime to truly develop its characters, it now makes sense that Prey for the Devil played to a theater that only contained me and a partner.