Review of “Prey For The Devil”: An Effective Exorcism Horror That Says “To Hell With Clerical Sexism”
Some people believed that director Daniel Stamm had revived a subgenre of horror movies with the release of his film “The Last Exorcism,” which came out twelve years ago. That film was an unexpected hit despite the fact that it wasn’t a classic; however, it carried itself seriously in the appropriate manner, owing to a solid cast that included Ashley Bell, who is still underrated in the industry.
Since the release of “13 Sins” in 2014, which was met with mixed reviews, he has been keeping himself busy working on episodic television. After an absence of eight years, he has returned with his new film to the types of stories that he has found successful in the past. Even though “Prey for the Devil” is about a female exorcist, which isn’t as unique as it’s made up to be (at least on screen), it’s probably not going to attract as much attention as Stamm’s first major hit.
One such example is the film “The Old Ways” from the previous year, which was filmed in Veracruz. Even though it’s not particularly frightening or memorable, this possession thriller is nonetheless a reasonably engaging watch overall. It should do well enough with people searching for predictable scares over the course of the Halloween weekend due to the fact that there aren’t many other horror movies now playing in theatres.
The on-screen text that appears at the beginning of the play written by Robert Zappia informs the audience that the Catholic Church has established a “School of Exorcism” in Boston due to the purported increase in the number of instances of individuals being possessed by demons all over the world.
One of the students at this seminary, dorm, and hospital for the “afflicted” is a woman named Sister Ann (Jacqueline Byers), who came here from a convent as the only female trainee even though it is still against the doctrine for a woman to do any of an exorcist’s duties. Sister Ann is one of the students at this hospital for the “afflicted.”
She believes that her own physically abusive mother, Konya Ruseva, was possessed by demons that were more real than her schizophrenia; despite this, she feels called to go in that route. One reason for this is that she believes that her mother was a victim of schizophrenia. Sister Euphemia, played by Lisa Palfrey, is extremely displeased by the fact that Sister Ann disobeys the Academy’s regulations.
In spite of this, the headmaster, Father Raymond (Colin Salmon), as well as Dr. Peters, who is suspicious of organised religion, provide her support in a variety of ways (Virginia Madsen). When Ann falls for new patient Natalie (played by Posy Taylor), a young girl whose family believes she is possessed due of the strange things she does, they are forced to breach a few laws in order to be together.
It becomes clear that our main character may have a natural talent for exorcism when her friend and fellow student, Father Dante (Christian Navarro), begs her to assist in the care of his sister, who is afflicted with the same issue (Cora Kirk). It would appear, however, that these lost souls are nothing more than a stepping stone for “the Devil’s foot troops” to reach their ultimate objective, which is Sister Ann.
What’s the deal? Therefore, because “God picked” her, whatever the meaning of that phrase may be. We are never informed of the demon’s name, his past, or anything else that could serve to jog our memories of him: It’s just a generic technique to make the characters execute the same contortions, stunts, makeup, and other horrible things that Linda Blair did half a century ago. On the other hand, there was not any pea soup this time.
William Friedkin’s “Exorcist” was realistic and terrifying. People were shocked by what was happening and that it could happen. They felt sanity slipping from under them.
“Prey for the Devil,” often called “The Devil’s Light,” is full of genre clichés. Demonic possession isn’t shocking. It’s a standard method for jump scares and fantasy FX.
The only novelty is ordering the performers not to mock the content. These good actors and the movie keep a straight face. Stamm’s scares are okay.
He hasn’t crafted an exciting movie, but he’s kept it from being boring or accidentally funny. This Bulgarian film lacks atmosphere. Denis Crossan’s cinematography is TV-like despite a good design and widescreen format.
We’d like to see Byers’s heroine again. We were told (before a rote “boo!” blackout) that the sequel will be like “Sister Exorcist 2: Vatican Boogaloo” in premise.