Prey (2010)

Three generations of the Lefevre family go into the woods; only one Lefevre comes back out!

(At right: Grandpa says, “Look at the size of that porker!” Later, Grandpa becomes a boar snack…)

I normally like French horror films, but 2010’s ‘Prey’ (original title ‘Proie’) was less than satisfying simply because it stuck too closely to ‘there is a big critter out there and the hunters have become the hunted!’ without transcending any of these standard tropes. Since Prey was Antoine Blossier’s first film, perhaps his producers did not let him take a lot of chances; I’ll be interested to see what this director does next because I think the film was very competently made. Most of my complaints are that the story ‘played it safe’ and we pretty much knew what was going to happen early on in the film.

The Lefevre family owns an old farm that has been in the family for generations and a brand new chemical fertilizer business. Deer are found mutilated on the property, and a wild boar of enormous size is suspected. Accompanied by their daughter’s fiance (who is a doctor), the Lefevre men set off to hunt down the wild pig. Did I mention there is a lot of tension in the family? Apparently the older generation dislike the newfangled fertilizer business and the grown son who started the fertilizer business thinks his father and brother don’t appreciate his hard work and all of the money he has made for them. The doctor fiance resents the fact that his future father-in-law doesn’t want his daughter, a chemist, to leave the fertilizer business to get married. Despite the fact that his daughter is pregnant, he tells the fiance that “there will always be time for children later.” Clearly, dad is a douche (even Uncle and Grandpa think so).

There is a file of secret reports of some kind that fertilizer father and chemist daughter keep passing back and forth and the doctor future son-in-law notices chemical burns on the skin of the grandfather, plus there are frequent closeups of the chemical handling pumps and manufacturing plant, implying that all is not on the up-and-up in the Lefevre fertilizer business but douche-bag fertilizer father insists that his daughter keep it a secret.

The men head off into the woods to hunt the boar… but, in a series of events that a blind man could have seen coming a mile off we discover that the boars are mutated and evil and agressive due to some chemical shit that the douchebag son has contaminated the lake with in his desire to ‘remain competative’ in the fertilizer business. The hunters become the hunted and half of the movie takes place in the woods at night.

We never really get a good look at the giant wild pigs that are killing off the Lefevres and I can’t decide if this is a good thing or a bad thing. One of my favorite horror films, Alien, almost never showed us the monsters, so the few times we did see it, it had a lot more impact… and I think Prey was opperating under the same principle… but the glimpses of boar’s heads, noses and tusks that we get just don’t look that convincing or scary. The only scene that made me sad is when the uncle’s dog gets killed by one of the mutant pigs but when ‘Dutch’ the dog was introduced at the start of the film, we pretty much knew it was just a matter of time.

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