Let Us Prey (2014)

Darkness shall rise

Writers: Fiona Watson, David Cairns
Director: Brian O’Malley

Let Us Prey is an interesting little horror movie from Ireland that perhaps suffers from trying to do too many different things.

The film opens with a lone figure walking through the landscape at dusk, accompanied by flocks of squawking crows and ominous music. From there we switch to the small town where Rachel (Pollyanna McIntosh) is a police constable starting work at the local station. On her way to her first night on the job she sees a young man crash his car into a pedestrian – except that when she investigates there is no body.

Later on at the station the man Rachel saw being hit by the car is brought in. He’s initially uncommunicative and has no identification – just a book full of names. However it soon clear that he’s no ordinary man. He knows everyone’s secrets and has the power to make them suffer for their sins. There’s little doubt as to the identity of the stranger, especially given his penchant for lighting old fashioned matches.

As the evening progresses we learn more about the various characters’ back stories and their sins. Things turn increasingly violent and bloody as the man, now in cell Six, taunts and manipulates them.

It may not sound overly original but it’s a class act with well defined characters and good acting all round. There’s even a little humour with Douglas Russell as Sgt MacReady clearly having great fun doing a Rambo. Direction is by turns subtle and primitive but always suitably menacing. And the ending isn’t what I expected, always a good sign.

What lets the film down is the variation in styles. The moody, atmospheric scenes at the start lead via the enigmatic Six to a level of violence and depravity bordering on the Grand Guignol; the gritty back story of Rachel fits oddly with the rather silly story of the doctor. All the bits work well, they just clash slightly.

That aside Let Us Prey is a classy film that makes a simple idea interesting and fun to watch.