The supernatural horror film focuses on a woman who trains to be an exorcist and battles demons who possess humans. The movie was released in the United States and Canada on 28th October 2022. Though the movie was gripping, it received negative remarks from critics around the States.
Previously the movie was planned to be screened in theaters in January 2021, but it got postponed twice and was released in theaters only in October 2022. The film was distributed by the Canadian-American production studio – Lionsgate.
The OTT release of the movie was acquired by Amazon Prime and will be available in India from 24th February 2023. The movie has a short runtime of 93 minutes and a box office collection of $44.7 million around the globe. It collected around $19.8 million in the US and Canada alone.
The main cast of the film included the Canadian actress Jacqueline Byers as Sister Ann and American actors Christian Navarro and Colin Salmon as Father Dante and Father Quinn. Byers starred in the CBS series Salvation, and Navarro is famous for his role as Tony Padilla in the Netflix series 13 Reasons Why. Salmon is known for his role as Charles Robinson in the James Bond movies.
He is also seen in hit shows like Doctor Who, Arrow, and Merlin. The movie also stars great actors like Nicholas Ralph as Father Raymond, Ben Cross as Cardinal Matthews, Virginia Madsen as Dr. Peters, Lisa Palfrey as Sister Euphemia, and Debora Zhecheva as young Ann.
The movie was directed by the German filmmaker Daniel Stamm, who is famous for directing other horror movies like The Last Exorcism (2010) and 13 Sins (2014). The American film production company Gold Circle Films produced this movie, and the screenplay was done by Robert Zappia.
The background music was composed by musician Nathan Barr who won a PrimeTime Emmy for Outstanding Main Title Theme Music in 2020 for the American mini-series Hollywood. Denis Crossan was the cinematographer for this film, while Paul Brooks, Earl Richey Jones, Todd R. Jones, and Jessica Malanaphy produced the film.
The producers of this film first announced the name of this movie to be “The Devil’s Light” in October 2019, and it was set to be directed by British Television filmmaker James Hawes. Later, in February 2020, Daniel Stamm was onboarded as the director of the film, and the title was renamed “Prey for the Devil.”
Prey for the Devil Review:
Plot: All over the world, people are being possessed by demons, and the Catholic church is now on a mission to open training for all priests to make them experts in the art of exorcism. That is when Sister Ann, who is a nun in a convent, has this calling asking her to become an exorcist. Women have never been allowed to perform the Rite of Exorcism the Roman Catholics.
But Father Quinn understands the potential in Ann and allows her to train as an exorcist. Along with her fellow trainee Father Dante, Ann has to save the soul of a little girl who is believed to be possessed by the same demon that excruciated Ann’s mother when she was a young girl. Things start getting scary as Ann begins attending the exorcism classes, even though many priests and professors stand against it.
As the story moves, Ann starts getting frightening visions and flashes leaving her disturbed and panicked. One day, Ann gets locked inside the room of a man who is possessed, and he begins to harass her and dances with her against her will. But nothing stops Ann from delving into archived books that are not supposed to be read and learning as much as she can to save the young girl.
Later, Father Dante seeks the help of Sister Ann to help save his little sister, who is also possessed. Ann successfully exorcizes Dante’s sister, but the church is still not happy with Ann as a possessed woman escaped from the school. Ann is now ready to go back to the convent since she thinks she is not good enough when she comes to know that Natalie, the girl who is possessed, is her own daughter, who she gave away when she was a teenager.
After the battle with the demon, Ann manages to get the demon out of Natalie, but the demon gets hold of Ann and possesses her. Finally, Ann drowns herself in holy water to get rid of the demon. After the climax, Ann is rewarded by the school with a fellowship to pursue the art of exorcism in the Church of the Vatican. The movie ends with Ann holding a crucifix to the man who harassed her and the woman who escaped from the school.
Review: To be honest, every exorcism movie that is made is a shadow of the OG. We all know what I’m talking about. The Exorcist (1973), directed by filmmaker William Friedkin is the one truly gripping exorcist movie ever made. Every other exorcist movie is either a replica or has some shade of the OG movie in it. Prey for the Devil has now joined the list.
Though there are some really nice jump-scare scenes the director has brought in, other than that, there isn’t much that in the 1 hour 33, minute movie. You hardly get scared or terrified while sitting through the movie. Most of the scenes in the movie were easily predictable, and every single time there’s no audio, we can definitely expect a loud, “supposedly” scary noise following it.
Also, the movie moves slower than a sloth. You will fully experience every dull moment in the screenplay. Every dialogue delivery was almost like hypnosis – so slow and cozy. We can clearly see that the team went right in for the muted tones with the CGI, also! No demon looked scary.
They all looked tired and sludgy – making us yawn every time they were on screen. The movie is extremely slow-paced. You can have a slow start or end, but there should be some urgency in horror movies, and that seemed to be missing here. The movie’s few jump-scares were the only few scary seconds. The cast was the only bright thing about this movie.
Colin and Virginia graced us with their stellar performances and made as much impact as they could with those poor dialogues. The Bulgarian shooting spots really did take us through a wonderful scene. The churches, the buildings, and every single structure were so beautiful.
The movie also held a strong message as to how you can focus on tapping the inner soul of the possessed rather than focusing on destroying the demon. The movie also tried to imply female empowerment but didn’t really succeed in doing so.
To conclude, this movie felt like nobody really cared about the plot or the screenplay or the writing or the casting, or even the acting. It looks like everyone wanted to be done with this as soon as possible. You can simply rewatch The Exorcist rather than watch Prey for the Devil!
Our Rating: ⭐ (4.5/5).
Also read: The Invitation Review: A Typical, Predictable Horror Movie