The Prey: Legend of Karnoctus
the prey: legend of karnoctus | cire hensman | matthew hensman | gustavo sainz de la pena | danny trejo | nick chinlund | adrian paul | military | monster | creature | sasquatch | action | sci-fi | thriller | united states | kevin grevioux | masika kalysha | creature feature
Film: The Prey: Legend of Karnoctus
Director: Cire Hensman and Matthew Hensman
Writer: Matthew Hensman and Gustavo Sainz de la Peña
Starring: Danny Trejo, Nick Chinlund and Adrian Paul
This is a movie that I was turned on to thanks to Justin Cook who sent over the screener for review. What caught my interest was that it featured Nick Chinlund and Danny Trejo, who were both in a movie together that I love, Con-Air. I think both are solid actors in specific roles. Outside of that I saw this was horror according to Letterboxd and was an action movie, I was in to see what this had to offer.
Synopsis: a platoon of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan searching for Taliban become trapped in a cave and are hunted down by a deadly creature.
We start this in a cave. There are Afghan soldiers. It looks like they have a workshop or a laboratory, something along these lines. They get attacked by a creature that is living there. It pulls them deeper and appears to be eating them.
The movie then shifts us over to seeing a map. There is a crew that is planning a heist where they’re going to hijack a truck, hide the loot in a cave until a helicopter comes to extract it. We then meet the team doing this robbery. They’re led by Tagger (Chinlund). With him is Vega (Danny Trejo), a sniper by the name of Gunnar (Adrian Paul), Reid (Kevin Grevioux) and an older guy driving their tank. Even though they’re outgunned, they take what they’re after.
It then shifts over to another group that is from the synopsis. There is a platoon of soldiers. We get to know them a bit as they debate what the best toys, video games and what not were growing up. They then head out. The problem is that they go to the same village the heist went down. It is there they get ambushed. They are decimated and a few of them seek shelter in a cave. It turns out to be the same one our crew from before is hiding.
Tagger isn’t happy that they’re there. Despite his rough exterior, he can’t let them die. He decides to help them and he also needs them to find another way out of the cave. The entrance they all used was destroyed in an explosion. They venture deeper and make a grisly discovery. This is also the same cave from the beginning as well. There is something that isn’t human hunting them.
That should be enough to recap this movie. I was going to try to introduce more of the characters, but I’ll be honest, there was so many that it was hard to keep up. I’m fine with that as I knew from that opening scene with them that they were cannon fodder. A lot get decimated in the ambush and that still leaves quite a few once we get to the cave. From that point, I like the setting. I’m not claustrophobic, but there is something about being trapped in a cave that scares me. Then you are also adding in a creature, we have a good recipe.
Where I want to start delving in deeper is with the idea of a creature feature facing off against soldiers. Before I do that, this movie is trying to push an interesting commentary. We have a special forces team led by Tagger. He hints to soldiers that they’re sanctioned to be there by the U.S. government. They probably were trained by them but are rogue. They’re out to steal whatever is in the boxes. This team robbed a terrorist group that was armed by the C.I.A. This has happened in the past and probably still is happening. I like that we are seeing the soldiers being overmatched there. With how highly trained they are, they go against this creature who can pick them off. When you have a group that you think is better equipped and unable to overcome something, that adds tension for me.
The last of the positives I’ll go into would be the creature itself. I did a quick search to see if this was real in lore, but the only thing that came up was this movie. Even though it isn’t something that people fear in real life, I like what they did. They went practical with the look of the creature for the most part. It is a yeti of sorts. It has glowing eyes and blood. What is also interesting is that the creature can use x-ray vision at times. I thought the cinematography was good with its POV as well as keeping this to the shadows. I was thoroughly impressed that then didn’t just go CGI. Another positive is that the attacks this does on characters looked to be done practical from what I could tell. They are strategic in cutting away as well so it could be CGI. Either way, this is a positive.
I do have some negatives here though. I wasn’t overly impressed with the acting. Part of this could be how the dialogue was written. It was a bit stiff and trying too hard. Chinlund and Grevioux play well off each other. They are really the stars. The soldiers we meet in the movie aren’t fleshed out well aside from a few. I could tell some apart by their looks like Cody being played by Cleveland Berto who is black. Sullivan is Matt Musgrove and he’s the annoying soldier. There is also Mingyu Chu who plays Chen and he’s Asian. The only one that they did well in fleshing out to me was Lake (Masika Kalysha). She is strong-willed, smart and I also found her attractive. I’d say that the acting comes off like you’d get a slasher film. That is how this plays out to be honest in its set up. The acting isn’t bad, but it also is lacking.
Last thing to go into would be the CGI. It isn’t very good. Thankfully, we only get this early in the movie during the heist and getting the characters trapped in the cave. There is bad CGI bullets and fire bursts from the guns. The explosions and blood spray are also done with computers. This took me out of the movie and made me question to go on or not. As I’ve said though, the movie gets away from this so that worked. We also get odd comic book/storyboards to fill things in for the credits, both beginning and end. I didn’t hate this as it was an interesting way to save money as well as get us up to speed.
In conclusion, this movie caught my attention and almost lost it early. I do think that once you get to our characters in the cave, it settles in. We have an interesting concept here. We have trained soldiers trapped in a cave with a creature. It then becomes a bit of a slasher as they get picked off looking for an exit. The acting is fine. No one stands out and how things are written makes it a bit stiff. The strongest part of the movie are the practical effects of the creature and the attack scenes with that. I wasn’t a fan of the CGI. This movie wasn’t as exciting as you expect for an action movie. Being that this falls into the story model of an 80’s slasher, which explains it as it is a bit faster slow-burn movie. With that said, this movie is okay. I’d put this as just over average for me. Some tweaks could have made this much better though, especially with some of the actors cast here.
My Rating: 6 out of 10