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Let Us Prey

Let Us Prey

Released 12 June 2015
Director Brian O'Malley

Liam Cunningham, Pollyanna McInstosh, Bryan Larkin, Hanna Stanbridge, Douglas Russell
Writer(s) Fiona Watson, David Cairns

Brendan McCarthy, John McDonnell, Eddie Dick
Origin United Kingdom, Ireland
Running Time 92 minutes
Genre Horror
Rating 18

Unoriginal sins.

If, like me, you have a soft spot for religiously inclined B­movies, The Twilight Zone and The League of Gentlemen (a mixture which is less niche than you would imagine), then you’ll enjoy the majority of Let Us Prey. I say the majority because unfortunately, after a relatively low­key first act, director Brian O’Malley unleashes bloody hell upon the proceedings and in doing so completely loses the plot. While the first half is enjoyably self­aware, the latter is a big, bloody disaster.

The film takes place in a small­town police station overnight where some local ne’er do wells are joined in the cells by a mysterious, nameless man (Liam Cunningham). Although he has just appeared in town, he seems to be intimately familiar with the darkest secrets of its residents, pushing them to acts of strange violence merely through his presence. As the police station descends into chaos, new recruit P.C. Rachel Heggie (Pollyanna MacIntosh) must hold her own against the inmates as well as her immoral co-workers.

Comedy and horror make for great bedfellows but they have to be pitched together just right to create a disturbing harmony; the laughter I experienced during the final act of Let Us Prey doesn’t spring from this careful balancing act but instead from the ludicrous plot twists. While there are sudden acts of violence throughout the film, O’Malley mostly keeps it in check, focusing on Liam Cunningham’s silent menace and the effects it has on those around him. The sudden turn into the blood­soaked lunacy of the final act derails all this good work, as the gore eclipses any hint of a shiver. It becomes more ridiculous than horrifying.

This loss of direction in the final act is an all too common problem in the horror genre as directors feel pressured to ramp up the action to give a spectacular finale. When it comes to producing a satisfsctory ending however, turning the violence up to 11 is rarely the answer. It's a shame Brian O'Malley thought differently; what begins as an effective B movie ends in chaos.

- Linda O'Brien