Monday, July 13, 2015

LET US PREY (2015) (Dark Sky Films Blu-ray Review)

LET US PREY (2015)

Label: Dark Sky Films
Region Code: A
Duration: 92 Minutes
Rating: Unrated
Audio: English DTS-HD MA 5.1, PCM 2.0 with Optional English Subtitles
Video: 1080p HD Widescreen (2.44:1) 
Director: Brian O'Malley 
Cast: Liam Cunningham, Pollyanna McIntosh, Bryan Larkin, Brian Vernel, Niall Greig Fulton, Jonathan Watson, Douglas Russell, Hanna Sturbridge

This Scottish-Irish production opens with an eerie and well-shot opening credit sequence which attributes some supernatural or spectral elements to a mysterious man, a man whom we will only come to know as the character of Six (Liam Cunningham). he arrives in a sleepy Scottish village the very same night that PC Rachel Heggie (Pollyanna McIntosh) begins her night shift patrolling the streets. While walking the quiet streets she just narrowly avoids being struck by the car of local trouble making youth named Francis "Caesar" Sargison (Brian Vernel) who swerves to avoid her but then strikes "Six" who is standing in the middle of the street. Despite there being blood on the headlight of Caesar's vehicle there's no body and the mysterious stranger is nowhere to be found. 

Heggie hauls the smart-mouthed Caesar into the police station under suspicion of a vehicular accident, but since there is no body her commanding officer Sgt. MacReady (Douglas Russell) is less than enthusiastic about her first collar of the night. An APB is sent out to officers Jack Warnock (Bryan Larkin) and Jennifer Mundie (Hanna Sturbridge) who we find vigorously boning each other in their patrol car parked in a vacant lot. They find the man wandering the streets and bring him in for questioning, he has a small wound to his head and hands, nothing life-threatening but he is non-responsive to questing, so they call in the local doc Duncan Hume (Niall Greig Fulton) to treat his injuries. When the stranger finally does speak it is to the doc and his words deeply affect the doc who attacks that stranger with a pair of scissors. 

The officers incarcerate he doc, inside the holding cells we now have Caesar, the doc, a wife beater named Ralph Beswick (Jonathan Watson) and now the mysterious man. As the night progresses each of the officers and the inmates are affected by "Six", his words inspiring them to revisit sins from their past and act violently toward each other. For such a sleepy little village the inhabitants of the town seem to be full of rage and murderous thoughts, as each of their pasts bubble to the surface throughout the night a lot of violence ensues. 

The film does a fine job of revisiting each of their sins through a series of visions or flashbacks, which at first I found slightly confusing, as we navigate the dark thoughts of spousal abuse, gruesome murder, molestation, police corruption and hit and runs. Six actually says very little throughout the film, Cunningham's portrayal of him keeps much of the mystery intact right up until the end, but the few cryptic things he does utter have quite an impact on those around him, each word cutting to a deeper truth that each person at the station would rather be kept buried. 

Visually this is quite an attractive movie, the atmospheric lighting of the film sets a dark and ominous tone, as does the retro-synth score, each scene is bathed in shadow making for an eerie setting. The gore hounds should not be disappointed in anyway, this one goes for the jugular with numerous scenes of visceral gore including face-pulping gunshot wounds, shards of glass to the jugular and numerous more scenes of physical punishment, it does a great job of balancing the psychological horrors elements with images of brutality. 

The film has a very dark tone about it, from the beginning there's an ominous portent at play with the murder of crows coming into town and roosting on the roof tops, it takes place over the course of a dark and stormy night, the tension is ratcheted up from the beginning and then when the finale happens upon us it goes over-the-top to an almost comic proportion, the final assault had me on the edge of my seat. O'Malley has done good for himself with his first feature straight out of the gate, it sets a tone, it builds upon and it then it gushes to a satisfying frenzied finish, this is a Hell of a fun watch, and Pollyanna McIntosh (The Woman) is fantastic as the bad ass moral-center in a roomful of corrupt and murderous bastards. 

Audio/Video: Let Us Prey looks great on Blu-ray, a very dark film shrouded in shadow, the darkness is good and thick with some reasonable sharpness and moments of fine detail. I love the cinematography and the darkness of this one, glad to see it looks as good as it does in HD. The DTS-HD 5.1 Surround audio is superb with some great use of the surrounds, the thick accented Scottish dialogue is crisp and the effect and sweet synth score come through with a lot of power behind them. There's also the choice of PCM 2.0 Stereo sound option and optional English subtitles are provided. Onto the extras we have a pretty slim array of bonus content, only an 11-minute behind-the-scene making of featurette with the cast and crew interviews and a theatrical trailer for the movie. 

Special Features: 
- Making of (11 Mins) 
- Trailer (2 Mins) 

I went into this one completely cold and walked away wanting to spread the good word, this is one savage and fun movie that erupts into a bloody dark comedy of sorts at the end, an easy high recommended and probably one of my favorite horror films of the year so far. 4/5