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Review: Prey, In Cold Blood

14011806_10153861503565998_547755567_nWhat makes an action thriller and what makes a horror thriller? Where do the lines blur? Is it possible to be all three in one? I’m going to address that in my review, so let’s jump right into it!

Prey, In Cold Blood is written, directed and produced by Alexander Hwang with co-writer Anthony Werley. Starring cast members include Darri Kristin, Michael J. Keeney, Mark Coyan, Destiny Dawn Osmialowski, Robert Downs, Sean Hasketh, Ralph Eastman, Gabriel Lane, Richard Harrington and Noel Jason Scott (The Burning Dead, Tales of Halloween).

The plot is very thinly described as, “a group of friends spend a weekend in a remote mountain cabin and discover something that will change their lives. Now they must fight to stay alive.” But, without giving too much away, I’d like to give you a little more information on that. Basically, a group of friends head to a cabin for their usual shenanigans and one of them brings a metal detector. One night he discovers something in the woods, something that will make them all very rich. It’s not each other they must fight, however, because there’s an ex-con and two hunters who are after the riches as well.

First and foremost, I wish that I existed in the world within Prey, In Cold Blood because everyone has a gun and they’re all either lying around on the floor or hidden in unique places. It’s like a far tamer version of Mad Max. This, in part, means that all of the characters featured within this title are a little unsavory, but this leads to what I feel is the biggest highlight of the movie. Every character in Prey, In Cold Blood is written uber realistically. The writers definitely knew what they were doing here and created characters that were damaged, entertaining and compelling without taking their personalities in a spiral of stereotypes. I was impressed and it showed that whoever was in charge of the script has some major talent going on behind the keyboard. The characters, of course, were brought to life by incredibly talented actors and I was blown away when I saw that the majority of them had little to no acting experience at all. Excellent performances across the board!

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Now, to get to the important part… How do you classify Prey, In Cold Blood when it comes to genre? It breaks the traditional horror film mold from the start, focusing more on 30/40 year olds instead of college age kids. It’s a welcomed change to the format. They’re stalked and attacked and there’s a ton of blood, suspense and violence that seems akin to a horror film, almost as if one were to swap out knives for guns. At the end of the day, though, I think Prey, In Cold Blood can be safely classified as a action-thriller or action-drama. There aren’t any scares to be found during its viewing, but there is a whole lot of tense moments and blood splattering gun shot wounds. And, that violence doesn’t start until the movie is 3/4 of the way over. Once it does, though, you’re treated to a film that resembles a lot of cool titles from the early 90’s. The camera work added to that overall feeling and I felt like I was watching a movie I found on the shelves of a VHS store or something I would have found on HBO late at night ten or fifteen years ago. A retro action flick that wasn’t too retro!

Speaking of any production aspect, I will state here that Prey, In Cold Blood only has one flaw when it comes to behind-the-scenes jobs and departments. The audio did not match up with the actors mouths during the car scene in the beginning and that is a pretty big error. If that’s my only criticism of the technical aspects of the film, then Prey, In Cold Blood is a professionally shot feature with a lot of effort put in. A solid indie hit should it ever hit Redbox! Its first public screening is scheduled at the 2016 International Action on Film Festival in Monrovia, CA which will take place in September 2016. I actually think it’s going to do well there, even though I think it needs a better movie poster! Even though it just barely dips its toes into the horror pool, I’d keep an eye out for Prey, In Cold Blood because it’s still a wild thrill-ride and a bloody good adventure in the woods! Final Score: 7 out of 10.

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Written by Michael Therkelsen

(Senior Editor)