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Prey

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Prey Movie Poster Image
Ridiculous horror-thriller about surviving on desert island.
  • PG-13
  • 2019
  • 85 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

The movie's main message comes at the beginning: It's better to help Dad in the garage than to pay the consequences later. (The character feels guilty and hurt for his failure.)

Positive Role Models & Representations

The movie's half-drawn characters don't even feel remotely real, let alone worthy of being role models.

Violence

Masked muggers attack with a knife. Character dies. Other scenes of stabbing, uses of knife. Some blood and gore. Jump scares and scary images. Character on boat hit in head, knocked overboard. Foot cut on sharp coral; blood in the water. Dead body. Animals killed. Severed snaked head. Booby traps.

Sex

Characters wear light to skimpy outfits. Kissing. One teen climbs on top of another in a sexual way.

Language

A use of "f--k." Also "s--t," "bulls--t," "ass," "bitch," "goddamn," "screwing." Meme on a phone with the phrase "Thirsty AF."

Consumerism

A Polaroid camera is used.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Prey is a poorly conceived but atmospheric horror-thriller about a troubled teen who joins a self-improvement program and tries to survive for three days on a desert island but finds he's not alone. Expect to see blood and gore, jump scares, scary images, knives and stabbing, animals killed, and dead bodies. Teens kiss, flirt a little, and wear skimpy clothing (appropriate for a tropical island); one climbs on top of another in a sexual way. Language includes a use of "f--k," plus "s--t," "ass," "bitch," "goddamn," and more. The phrase "Thirsty AF" appears in a meme.

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What's the story?

In PREY, teenage Toby (Logan Miller) refuses to help his dad in the garage -- then is shocked when his father is jumped and killed by carjackers. His mother signs her distraught son up for a program that will supposedly build responsibility and self-esteem. It 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 there. A pretty girl, Madeleine (Kristine Froseth), suddenly appears and starts helping him. But Toby soon realizes she has secrets that should have remained undiscovered.

Is it any good?

From the start, this ridiculous horror-suspense movie is fraught with nonsense and a head-scratching lack of logic; though it eventually goes crazily over the top, it's too late to care. 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 beyond slapdash. (What mother would ever allow their child to sign up for a program so clearly 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 -- but, just days later, he's morphed into 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. But that's not enough to make Prey anyone's desert island classic.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Prey's violence. How did it make you feel? What's the impact of media violence on kids?

  • Is the movie scary? What's the appeal of scary movies?

  • How does the movie deal with sexual attraction between teens? What values are implied?

  • Toby chooses not to help his father and later regrets that decision. Have you ever chosen not to do something and later regretted it?

Movie details

For kids who love scares

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