Prey For The Devil

Prey For The Devil
Original title:Prey For The Devil
Director:Daniel Stamm
Running time:93 minutes
Release date:28 october 2022
According to Vatican records, cases of demonic possession have increased dramatically in recent years. To deal with this, the Catholic Church has secretly reopened exorcism schools. On this spiritual battlefield, Sister Ann, a young nun, stands out as a promising fighter. Although nuns are forbidden to perform exorcisms, a teacher detects her special gift and agrees to initiate her. But her soul is in danger because the evil forces she fights are mysteriously linked to her traumatic past: the devil has chosen her and he wants to enter...

Mulder's Review

Halloween is only a few days away and while the last chapter of the Halloween saga is still in theaters but seems to have been shunned by the public, another horror film arrives in theaters after the excellent Smile and shows us that the horror genre seems to be rising from its ashes and allows ambitious directors to offer to a large audience scary films with the vision of a really invested director. Of course, Prey For The Devil will not revolutionize the genre of films dedicated to exorcisms, but it succeeds where many films of the same type fail miserably by cleverly mixing psychological and visual scares. After the documentary film A Necessary Death (2008) and two films The Last Exorcism (2010) and the remake 13 sins (2014), director Daniel Stamm offers here his fourth film on a screenplay by Robert Zappia and remains faithful to the horrific genre that he masters with skill.

After an introductory scene set in the past of the main female character Ann (Jacqueline Byers) and showing how her demon-possessed mother proved to be dangerous and unable to control her violent impulses, the action picks up years later and Ann has become a nun and has dedicated her life to helping those under the influence of a demonic force. She practiced after being trained by the Catholic Church in a Vatican-controlled institute in Boston where people were locked up and observed constantly by control screens because they were suspected of being possessed. This institute, directed by Dr. Peters, where priests in training take courses to practice and master the different elements that allow them to perform exorcisms. Only men are allowed by the Church to conduct an exorcism, yet Ann will prove to be very gifted and be accepted by Father Quinn (Colin Salmon) in his course. Ann befriends a young girl who some believe to be possessed and unable to control her temper. Ann will have to face not only her past but also her deepest fears to save this young girl from an evil force.

The films relating to exorcisms all find their paternity in William Friedkin's film which, despite the weight of years, has lost none of its effectiveness. Between dislocated bodies, paranormal phenomena and men of God who try to defeat evil forces and not be tempted by them, these films follow almost the same rules and try to capture the attention of the audience. The Devil's Prey (Prey For The Devil) can be seen thanks to the presence of actress Jacqueline Byers (Bad Samaritan (2018) and the Roadies and Salvation series in particular) and by an invested director who was able to create some clearly disturbing sequences and master the rhythm of his film without false notes until the final denouement. The special effects are also well done and manage to create real scares which is the main expectation of the spectators who come to discover this film. Once again, this film shows the importance of discovering films in theaters to share the different reactions of the audience to the most trying scenes. 

While most horror films tend to rely on outrageous horror scenes or the creation of an unhealthy atmosphere, some of them seem to go back to what made the strength of the classics of the genre, that is to say to rely on consistent roles leaving a strong psychological aspect. If this film works so well, it is because it has been able to create a realistic world in which supernatural events occur and leave the characters unable to cope with them. This process sends us back to our own inner fears and the fact of not knowing how to face them. In the same way, one of the particularities of this film is to show a real arsenal of men of the church to face these demons. Certainly the horror genre is currently experiencing a fast period whether it is films released in theaters or on streaming platforms like Netflix, Hulu or Disney+.

Prey For The Devil
Directed by Daniel Stamm
Written by Robert Zappia
Story by Robert Zappia, Earl Richey Jones, Todd R. Jones
Produced by Paul Brooks, Earl Richey Jones, Todd R. Jones, Jessica Malanaphy
With Jacqueline Byers, Posy Taylor, Colin Salmon, Christian Navarro, Lisa Palfrey, Nicholas Ralph, Ben Cross, Virginia Madsen
Cinematography: Denis Crossan
Edited by Tom Elkins
Music : Nathan Barr
Production Company: Gold Circle Films
Distributed by Lionsgate (USA), Metropolitan FilmExport (France)
Release date: October 26, 2022 (France), October 28, 2022 (United States)
Running time  : 93 minutes

Seen on October 27, 2022 at Gaumont Disney Village, Room 2 seat A19 


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