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With: Logan Miller, Kristine Froseth, Jolene Anderson
Written by: David Coggeshall, Franck Khalfoun
Directed by: Franck Khalfoun
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for violence, bloody images, terror, and brief strong language
Running Time: 85
Date: 09/26/2019

Prey (2019)

1 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Beaster Island

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Right from the start, this ridiculous horror-suspense movie is fraught with nonsense, and a head-scratching lack of logic, and though it eventually goes crazily over the top, it's too late to care.

In Prey, Toby (Logan Miller) refuses to help his dad in the garage, and then is shocked when his father is jumped and killed by carjackers. His mother signs up the distraught teen for a program that will supposedly build responsibility and self-esteem. The program requires him to survive three days on a deserted island by himself.

He starts off badly, making himself sick eating shellfish and cutting his feet on sharp coral. But he soon discovers that he's not alone on the island. A pretty girl, Madeleine (Kristine Froseth), suddenly appears and begins helping him. But Toby soon realizes she has secrets that should have remained undiscovered.

It's as if writer/director Franck Khalfoun (P2, Amityville: The Awakening) and co-writer David Coggeshall (The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia) just charged right ahead with a half-baked idea and didn't bother to stop and work out any of the kinks. The entire setup for Prey, all of the bizarre antics required to get Toby to his island, is so slapdash as to be bizarre. (What mother would ever allow their child to sign up for a program so destined to go so horribly wrong? How would such a company even get insurance?)

Once on the island, Prey jumps through more idiotic hoops, starting with Toby's astonishing lack of survival skills to, just days later, emerging as a combination of Rambo and MacGyver. Madeleine's story makes even less sense; she's been there for years and years without ever asking the most obvious questions. For example, only after three days does Toby manage to mention that he's supposed to leave, sparking Madeleine's ire.

On the plus side, the movie is handsomely shot, with nifty use of the island and its creepy jungle, and the stars are appealing. Miller conveys the pain and guilt over the loss of his father, and Froseth manages a hypnotizing, otherworldly quality for her character. However, this is not enough to make Prey anyone's desert island classic.

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