Studio Home Entertainment presents
The Devil's Prey (2001)
Fawn: They call themselves 'The Shadows.' They're into some kind of witchcraft. They kidnapped me and wanted to cut me up. I ran. That's it.
Samantha: At least we know why we're going to die tonight.- Elena Lyons, Jennifer Lyons
Stars: Ashley Jones, Jennifer Lyons, Patrick Bergen, Bryan Kirkwood
Other Stars: Elena Lyons, Charlie O'Connell, Corey Page, Tim Thomerson, Rashaan Nall
Director: Bradford May
MPAA Rating: R for For strong violence and sexuality, language and drug content
Run Time: 01h:29m:34s
Release Date: 2001-09-18
DVD ReviewOnce you get past the really, really old looking "teenagers" in Devil's Prey, you're left with a somewhat mindless, straight-to-DVD devil worshipping flick that only occasionally manages to pull a few surprises out of it's threadbare bag of tricks to keep things relatively exciting. But that's not necessarily a bad thing, because there haven't been too many really quality satanic cult movies in recent years, and while this one isn't exactly memorable, it does try pretty hard to be entertaining.
A horror movie mixed-bag of teens (and I use the term "teens" INCREDIBLY LOOSELY) get a mysterious invite to attend a clandestine "rave" held somewhere out in the middle of nowhere. Susan (Ashley Jones) and David (Charlie O'Connell) are the level-headed pair of the group, and try to opt out of going, but parolee Eric (Bryan Kirkwood) and bitch-on-wheels gal pal Samantha (Jennifer Lyons), along with their drug dealing pal Joe (Rashaan Nall) make the decision for them all to go.
The rave, unbeknownst to our intrepid party seekers, is actually a sort of hunting ground for a nasty band of devil worshippers known as The Shadows, who randomly select a few new victims to sacrifice from each bash. When the group of "teens" are run off the road by a mysterious gray van after getting booted out of the rave, they are ruthlessly hunted down by a gang of knife-wielding, black-hooded cultists wearing creepy white masks. During the big chase scene, David mows down a woman named Fawn who pops out the woods in front of their speeding car. Fawn (Elena Lyons) is a bloody mess, but seeing that this is a movie, she manages to only end up with a noticeable limp. Not bad for getting nailed by a car; if my foot falls asleep I need a wheelchair and smelling salts. She fills in the group (as well as the audience) on who The Shadows are and what they want. Her story is that she has escaped from their clutches, and claims it's her that they are really after. At this point, Devil's Prey kicks in as the group tries to stay one step ahead of the murderous satanic goons.
I was a little concerned about the sloth-like pacing during the first 10 or 15 minutes of Devil's Prey. For a moment I thought the all-night rave sequence was going to be presented in real time it dragged on so long. Basically an excuse for a heavy-duty display of gratuitous female nudity (ok, THAT part didn't drag on too long), the scene just didn't really offer much in the way of character or plot advancement. Lots of techno music and gyrating bodies, but really little else. However, once the characters are set upon by the bloodthirsty brood, director Bradford May (Darkman II: The Return Of Durant and Darkman III: Die Darkman Die) moves things along quickly, and there aren't really any slow spots once the rave sequence ends. The kids eventually stumble across the sleepy town of Howards Point, and finally encounter someone willing to help them: the kindly Reverend Seth (Sleeping With The Enemy's Patrick Bergen). Rev. Seth, who has had run-ins with The Shadows in the past, involves the skeptical local sheriff (Tim Thomerson, Trancers) to help smoke out the devil worshippers.
There are a couple of moderately twisty plot turns in the C. Courtney Joyner (Lurking Fear) script that keeps this from becoming completely mundane and stiff, though the film sort of falls apart by the time it reaches the big explosive ritual sacrifice sequence. Other than a healthy smattering of blood, there isn't a lot of graphic gore here; in fact most of the actual violence happens off-screen. That notwithstanding, May's deft MTV-style pacing turns what could have easily been a full-fledged train wreck into an admittedly silly piece of moderately entertaining fluff.
Rating for Style: C
Rating for Substance: C+
|Aspect Ratio||1.33:1 - Full Frame|
|Original Aspect Ratio||no|
Image Transfer Review: Presented in an unimpressive 1.33:1 full-frame transfer, Devil's Prey doesn't have much in the way of any image strong points other than being pretty much nick and blemish free. Most of the flesh tones come across a bit too pink, and smear during some of the candle-lit sequences. The night scenes do not have especially strong shadow depth, and as a result don't generate much in the way of detail. On the other hand, a lot of the daylight scenes, while muted somewhat overall, look clean. Some film grain, most visible during the night shots, appears occasionally.
This isn't a perfect transfer by any means, but it suits the content just fine, regardless.
Image Transfer Grade: C
Audio Transfer Review: This is one of the better 2-channel stereo surround tracks I've heard in a while. Sirens, crowd sounds and music are used to fill out the rear channels, adding some realistic fullness to the sound field. When the "teens" are trapped in the cabin, and the devil worshippers are scurrying across the roof, there is a fairly solid multi-channel directionality that usually isn't there on most low budget horror flicks. I was genuinely surprised by the depth and crispness of this audio transfer, and it greatly enhanced the somewhat predictable plot happenings.
Audio Transfer Grade: B+
Disc ExtrasStatic menu
Scene Access with 24 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, Spanish, French with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
2 Other Trailer(s) featuring 7 Days To Live, Amores Perros
Extras Review: Three theatrical trailers (Devil's Prey, 7 Days To Live, and Amores Perros) are all Studio Home Entertainment could muster up for this release, aside from routine 24 chapter stops and subtitles in English, French, and Spanish.
Extras Grade: D
Final CommentsGood or bad? Well, I didn't NOT like Devil's Prey. I never once looked at my watch, wondering when the suffering would end, and I think that really says something. Much of this is a derivative rehash of any number of devil worshipper films, but I was never bored.
Far from a required purchased, I suggest you hunt for this one on late night cable. Under those conditions, you probably won't be disappointed.
Rich Rosell 2001-12-11