Exorcise this horror from memory immediately
Prey for the Devil should have been renamed Prey For The Audience, because after watching this snooze fest you’ll be wondering why you spent 90 minutes with it. There are promising glimmers of a better film here, boasting some pretty gnarly and violent imagery, but beyond that there’s very little here to stand out.
Ideas like loneliness, grief, longing and forgiveness have long been staples of the horror genre but Prey For The Devil does absolutely nothing new or interesting with this, instead molding everything into a patchwork of mundane mediocrity.
The story centers on a Roman Catholic Church that combats the global rise of demonic possessions by opening schools to train priests in the art of performing exorcisms. Nuns are forbidden from performing this ritual, but when Father Quinn notices that Sister Ann has a particular gift for getting through to demonic outcasts, he agrees to train her.
Thrown into the spiritual frontline, Sister Ann finds herself in a battle to try and save the soul of a young girl who is now possessed by the same demon that tormented her own mother years ago.
On paper, it’s a simple enough premise but Prey For The Devil orchestrates its “big twist” within the first 15 minutes of the movie. To begin with you’ll wonder whether it’s a red herring but… it’s not. This film is nowhere near clever enough to actually re-contextualize or provide false flags to what’s going on, instead deciding to spend most of its time exploring Sister Ann’s background and upbringing instead, only adding further weight to what you’ll suss out early on.
As I said before, there are small glimmers of promise; tiny scenes of exorcisms or frightening demonic possessions that actually work really well. Unfortunately, there’s just very little beyond that. In fact, with the exception of three individual scenes, the entire movie works to try and give an angle of female empowerment… and spectacularly fails.
One scene shows Sister Ann ignores all warnings and decide to enact an exorcism without the church’s blessing. The results are devastating. We – as the audience – are basically shown that conformity and following rules are the way forward, otherwise it’ll end up disaster. Not quite the empowering message Prey For The Devil hoped for! And in fact, this just makes the entire ending all the more ludicrous, with a tired adage of “tell don’t show”, thrown up for good measure in a late scramble to give gravitas to our bland lead protagonist.
Prey for the Devil is, quite simply, not a good film. It fails to be a scary horror, it fails to be an empowering message for strong female characters and it fails to actually give a good mystery. Instead, what we get is a patchwork of mundane influences, ones that should be exorcised from memory as quickly as possible.
Read More: Prey for the Devil Ending Explained
Verdict - 3/10