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!