Friday, May 8, 2009

When Neighbours Become Good Prey

I think y'all (and myself) should just give up on the witty/punny entry titles since I, clearly, just created the best one of all time. Because the star of Prey used to be on Neighbours! Geddit?!? I accept cash cheques from anyone who thinks they should have to pay for such high quality word play. No? Nobody? Oh...

On Wednesday night I went to a nifty screening party for the new Aussie horror flick, Prey. The boyfriend and I arrived at this kind-of-creepy-kind-of-just-dilapidated house in Toorak (Victorians will know where I mean, it's quite "upper class") and were greeted by a creepy man who didn't speak. Walking around the gardens allowed us witness an assortment of other extras. A weird man creaking around in a wheelchair, a mysterious man chopping wood in the back shed, an eerie piano player, an awkward-looking waiter who I actually think is a stripper on weekends (same outfit!)


We got drinks and nibbles and had a nice chat to one of the ladies at Taboo who organised the whole shindig without even knowing what a blog was (bless). As we waited to be directed into the screening room we had a wonderful chat with John from Outland Institute and his man, which was a blast. They were super hilarious and it was a great conversation.

Upon entering the (quite tiny) theatrette we took our seats and we got an introduction from co-producer Robert Galinsky. He apparently thought Prey was a cross between Twin Peaks and Picnic at Hanging Rock (er...) and gave some background to the movie. No mention, however, of the fact that director George "The Neverending Story II: The Next Chapter" Miller walked off the picture and was replaced by a pseudonym (Oscar D'Roccster). The movie began with some awesome retro horror trailers (how very Grindhouse) including The Fly, Psycho II, The Exorcist, Reanimator and Nightmare on Elm Street, which were great fun.



Clearly the highlight of the experience though came about two-thirds of the way through the movie. It came right after a scene in which Natalie Bassingthwaighte chainsaws through some zombies (I think that's what they were) there was a brief moment of silence and then suddenly in through the screening room's emergency exit comes a CHAINSAW-WIELDING MANIAC! No kidding. It frightened the life outta me and made me die of laughter afterward (I was brought back to life by The Bass' imaculate breasts). I made a mock photoshop of what it looked like using a photograph that was taken earlier in the evening. Just imagine the room as being dark and all the patrons screaming at the CHAINSAW-WIELDING MANIAC conveniently represented by Leatherface. Amazing, no?


As for the movie? Well, it has lesbians, chainsaws, ancient Aboriginal curses, ghosts, possessed serpents and exploding faces so I think you have to go into Prey with a certain attitude. It stars Natalie Bassingthwaighte, Natalie Bassingthwaight's tits, Don Johnson's lookalike son and a bunch of randoms you've never seen before and probably never will ever again. I admit to getting a perverse enjoyment out of it all. It really did remind me of the "ozploitation" flicks of the '70s and '80s like Turkey Shoot (although not as actually well-made as that title, let's be honest). Half the cast even speak in poor American accents (I'm looking especially at you Natalie Walker). It reminded John of Harlequin and I'm inclined to agree.

I'm not sure how much I was meant to be laughing, but I was laughing a lot. Personally, my favourite moment of HILARITY came about as Natalie Bassingthwaighte's character, who was earlier introduced as a doctor - she wore scrubs and everything! - can't seem to figure out that another character has been brutally savaged by snakes and instead cracks "It must be an allergic reaction to something", before later going "Look. Snake bites." Aah, bless it. It was at this moment that the audience will surely remember that in the early scene in which Bass wears scrubs they were drenched in blood (whilst standing in a waiting room no less). Perhaps that Doctor tag isn't working out to well for her.

You could say the CGI was as woeful as the CGI on Natalie's album cover, however just like that unfortunate debacle, it adds yet another hilarious dimension to the proceedings. The sand storm that suddenly appears and disappears for no apparent reason was a particular highlight although I have absolutely no idea why the zombies were being chargrilled. None whatsoever. Absolutely baffling. It was fun pointing out all the silly mistakes, too, like the aforementioned snake bite scene. One big blooper though was just crazy when we clearly hear a character say they will leave a car behind in a bid to escape faster and then in the next cut all three cars are driving yet all the remaining living characters are in the first two! AAAGH! Who edited this thing? Actually, that would be Geoff Hitchens, although the credits list a second name that IMDb does not mention.

In fact, the film's messiness is, surely, a direct result of the behind the scenes dramas that occurred, that I mentioned earlier. I think we can be fairly sure that George "The Man From Snowy River" Miller was trying to make something serious and "beautifully haunting" as the press ads might say and that when he left somebody else was brought in to film some scenes that obviously run parallel to it in a twilight zone. So bizarre are some the tonal shifts. One particular storyline (a very WTF? moment involving a pregnancy) is so haphazardly played out that it feels like it was scripted by a fifth grader.

If you decide to see Prey do so with a large group of people. It's more fun that way. C+. The movie itself deserves much less, but I had fun and I sure was entertained, but just not in the way I anticipate the makers had intended. Plus, nowhere near enough chainsaw action. Not at all!

32 comments:

outlandinstitute said...

It was a surprisingly great experience watching a surprisingly awful film. I know I'll eventually write about it over on my site, but you've pretty much summed it up. I think it was a bad film, but strangely watchable, and I'd recommend it to people, but in a funny accent.

I love the way in your photoshopped recreation no-one is paying any attention to the man with the chainsaw. We're all so engrossed in the film. It was lovely to meet you too, by the way, and I'm sorry I didn't get to meet Melbourne Film Blog's Paul Martin who was also there.

I loved the producer, I've got to say. His intro was probably better than the film.

Anonymous said...

I don't know how people can say a film was bad yet they were really entertained? It's obviously done its job if you enjoyed it. A film doesn't always have to be deep and meaningful to be good, and I think Prey especially is just for shits and giggles.

I thoroughly enjoyed it myself, despite some major plot holes and WTF?? moments. Have not seen a movie like this for a while and was taken back to the days of Dead By Dawn [Evil Dead II] - not saying it is as good as Dead By Dawn tho.

Just my 2 cents!!

Mark

Glenn said...

I'm saying it's poorly made, but not necessary a bad movie. Does that make sense? Like, it is quite obviously not very well made, but I did indeed get some enjoyment out of it. It's like Glitter or How to Deal or Xanadu. Dreadully made, awesome to watch.

outlandinstitute said...

Well put. It is very much like Glitter, only with more screaming.

Paul Martin said...

I agree with Anonymous. Look, it's not high art by any stretch of the imagination, and nor did I expect it. I expected complete trash, and that's what I got, but in the nicest possible way. Bobby Galinsky is a very funny guy, and as a regular reader of his blog, the film reflects his pretty bent, fucked-up but thoroughly enjoyable sense of humour.

Poorly made? Surely that's part of the aesthestic. It was so-o-o-o low-budget get-it-out-there-at-any-cost Ozploitation and played on that. The Bassingthwaighte shower scene, the goofs, the corny lines, I just laughed and laughed and laughed, just like I did for Grindhouse. This was probably more authentic, but not as polished.

Yeah, it would have been nice to meet you, too, Mr. Outlandinstitute. It was kinda weird, knowing that most of the people who were there were because I had passed their details onto the publicist, but not knowing anyone (except for you of course, Glenn, and another Geelongian, Anthony Morris, who obviously didn't have as much fun as I). We could have each done an intro, like on the first day of school, or something.

I thought the pre-film trailers was a good idea, a la Grindhouse, though they went on a bit long. It set the mood for what was to follow.

Glenn said...

$3.5mil is not low budget.

Bad dialogue, lousy editing and CGI aren't deliberate. Look at Death Proof for that. That was going for the grindhouse effect and got it despite actually having stellar techs and the writing was quite spot on. In Prey I felt they were trying to have really great CGI and thought they were really trying to make a great movie. It just turned out to be great for the exact opposite reasons.

But, yes, despite all of the shortcomings, they are indeed what made the film enjoyable and is by far a better experience than, say, Dying Breed which was bankrupt in basically every conceivable way.

Edward Gein said...

Hi Guys... thanks for coming the other night and appreciate all thoughts. We felt we had a lot of fun and camp up there on the screen for a little over $3m, esp with the sound and soundtrack (though sound issues at the theatrette might have hampered that a hair). And the Ozploitation Tone a la 2009 would be pretty spot on and time will tell. That tone and fun (and most everything) was nearly lost from the starting director who fortunately did leave so we could make something entertaining but yes warts and all we like what it does... Cheers!

Paul Martin said...

Glenn, I have no idea how $3.5m compares with Australian budgets. It may not be low budget, but it sure ain't big budget either.

I agree that the writing is what makes it work. In spite of all its technical flaws, or perhaps because of them, it works most because of the totally tongue-in-cheek story. How about that dust storm? I haven't seen CGI like that for decades, hehe! And that ghost car was a blast. Actually, there were four people in the front car and two in the second. There sure shouldn't have been a third! I found it fun picking up the goofs like that.

Anonymous said...

Seems like the producer took the money and ran, cause there aint no way 3.5 mill went into this film.....

Its an embarrassment to the aussie film industry - don't be drawn into the hype - this film is just a shit film that never should seen the light of day.

You can color it all u want with cult labels - bottom line its a (dodgy) business venture nothing else.

ned smith said...

Interesting how the film was "nearly $4 million" leading up to its release, then "$3.5 million" in the May 10 Age article, and now in these comments its "a little over $3m". I'm sure by the end of the week it will be down around $2 million, and I guess the question will be whether the budget was overinflated for promotion, or whether the film is a total disaster.

Anonymous said...

Ahh! the credited director of prey is the producers CAT! I suppose its hard for cat to direct thats why its such a poor video - I wont say film because thats just insulting.....to real films.

Dont believe the hype! said...

I have seen that too Ned - I am sure the investors are wondering that as well. WTF happend to all the money maybe its those posh hotels suits and coke that the producer talks about ALL the time in every inteview!

Anonymous said...

If anyone wishes to get to know the "producer" (producer of unequivocal rubbish) have a look at his blog www.bobbystruth.blogspot.com and read the tripe that this self absorbed idiot writes... It's worth having a look at Wikipedia to check out the box office takings... Amusing.

Paul Martin said...

Anonymous, Prey is trash, trash and nothing but pure trash. It doesn't pretend to be otherwise. In fact, it wears it with pride. Did you expect anything different? I didn't, and I wasn't disappointed. I also had the biggest belly laugh for 87 minutes, like I hadn't had for a long time.

Paul Martin said...

As for Bobby's blog, his writing is outrageous, and that's why I saw the film. And that's why I knew what to expect.

Anonymous said...

One thing to say one thing only - this guy is a crook!

Anonymous said...

Thats great Paul Im glad you had a laugh - but dude it isnt a comedy!

Anonymous said...

Bobby Galinsky is a bullshit wanker pure and simple!

Anonymous said...

All that bobby guy does is talk about the expensive hotels suits and coke gee the investors must love that.

Glenn said...

I'm fairly certain the movie is meant to be a comedy in at least some regards.

Anonymous said...

Nope Glenn is was never 'meant' to be a comedy, all that stuff you thought was funny was just terrible scripting and really bad acting.

No really it was meant to be a scary film......

Anonymous said...

PREY has no cinema or dvd releases pending....the only way to see it would be at one of the "paid for" screenings or pirated.

Glenn said...

Perhaps originally, but surely at some point that realised it worked better as a comedy.

Aren't there other places on the net you could be spitting your bile about Prey?

Anonymous said...

Sorry i did not realize that you were only aloud to like films on this forum.

Anonymous said...

On behalf of all those who have had to tolerate your mindless rants, apology accepted. Now fuck off.

Anonymous said...

oh boo hoo bunch of pansies! When you lot get free tickets to something you really become its bitch don't you. Star Fuckers!

Toby said...

Its funny how all other REAL reviews for this film PREY say its completely crap, and see it for what it is - just a badly made, directed, scripted etc film...that should never had been seen.

This film is an embarrassment to film making, we should support our great films and not encourage this kind of rubbish.

How sad that all that investor money had to get wasted on such a bad and obviously dodgy film, when it could have been spent to support great aussie film.

It is obvious that Glen got an invite to prey and therefore fells compelled not to give it the bad review it deserves.....thats he's right but its really not a fair review then is it!

It may of well been a paid for!

Paul Martin said...

I think it's ludicrous to suggest that someone gives a different review based on whether one paid for the ticket or not. On that basis, you can't trust a single media review, because they don't pay for their tickets. For me, whether I pay for a ticket or not makes not a single iota of difference. The time to see a film is worth infinitely more than the measly $10 or $15 ticket price (and I pay for less films than I do).

Some people like Prey, some don't. What's so hard to accept about that? There's no right or wrong here, just whether you like it or not, and perhaps why. I agree it's crap, trash, and so on ad nauseum. But I still enjoyed myself. So it cost $3-4m to make. If that's a terrible waste of money, what about the US$300 spent on Titanic?

Maybe we should have made another Black Balloon. Or Romulus My Father. Or Home Song Stories. I say hopefully not; we don't need these either. And not every Australian film is going to be a Samson and Delilah.

Ultimately, if you didn't like the film, that's too bad. But why rain on other people's parade? Time to move on, folks. There's more out there to see and more constructive conversations to be having.

Glenn Dunks said...

Thank Paul, but there's obviously not rationalising with this guy (I assume Toby is the same anonymous person from throughout the comments on the blog since they has the same lack of spelling and grammar skills as each other.

There are some people that just can't accept that people have other opinions than themselves. Yes, I didn't pay to see Prey, but I didn't pay to see Paul Cox's Salvation either and I gave than an F and I didn't pay to see Four of a Kind, which I'll be reviewing next week and I won't be giving that a good grade either.

And I'd also like to mention that REAL review(ers) didn't like a lot of movies I like, doesn't mean my opinion on them changes. I think Showgirls is brilliant, but the critics sure didn't. I find stuff in it that I like, others do not.

Get your head out of your arse and piss off if you don't like it here.

Anonymous said...

I've been out of touch for a long time with what ever happened to this film and I've just scanned the net to find out ... it doesn't look good. It looked like it was going to be hilariously good. Maybe the blackness didn't go far enough and that was its downfall. That would have been a tough commercial choice to make for the producers, especially with a conservative director on-board. What a shame for the producers if it didn't/doesn't recoup costs. Australia needs more brave and crazy talented people, not less! Amanda

Jeff Ritchie said...

Just dropping in to say I enjoyed the review, far better than the actual movie.

For those wondering $3.5 million is a large budget for an Aussie horror movie, normally they run around the $1 million mark. Not entirely sure where they spent the money on "Prey" to be honest.

If wanting to see some decent recent Aussie horror could I suggest "Lake Mungo" or "No Through Road".

"Prey" really does make you despair about the state of local horror movie making. And no it's in no way "ozploitation", that term is getting way over used.

Anonymous said...

Bobby Galinsky is bankrupt having ripped off numerous investors...

http://www.news.com.au/business/film-group-top-cat-films-owes-1m/story-e6frfm1i-1225813348421

What a crook!