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Prowl (2010)
Director: Patrik Syversen

review by Matthew S. Dent

Prowl is, I have discovered, not an easy film to review. Generally, if a film is awful, then I can rant about how bad it is. If it's great, then visa versa. However, if it's somewhere in the no-man's land between the two, then I have to actually think about how to present the film in an honest and informative way.

I'll start with the story. Amber (Courtney Hope) is a small-town girl, desperate to escape to the city, but everything keeps getting in her way. Until, after the revelation from her drunken mother that she was adopted, she decides to just leave. She and a group of her friends head off, but break down fairly quickly, and are picked up by a trucker, who offers them transport. Instead, he takes them to a warehouse-come-construction yard, where they are set upon by a pack of crazed, bloodthirsty creatures who hunt them down one by one.

I realise when it's put like that, the whole thing sounds predictable and overdone. And yes, when they accept a lift from the obviously-evil trucker it's one of those cringe-worthy, running up the stairs moments. But aside from that, I can't really fault it too much. It's simple, but it's well executed. It's not going to cause revolutions, but I could certainly stand to watch it again. The acting is nothing special, but then it isn't bad - and given the general standard of acting in low-budget horrors like this, anything that isn't awful gleams like a diamond in the over-emotive or wooden rough. Realistically, all that the characters have to do for most of the film is scream and run away, which in the broad scheme of acting skills isn't terribly taxing - but they do it well enough.

There is a twist in the tail of the story, which I won't give away here, but honestly it didn't take me at all by surprise. It seems to just slot into place so naturally that it's hard to imagine the story leading anywhere else. And the bloodthirsty creatures, too, fit right into the narrative. There's no lengthy scene explaining their precise origins and it's never really clear if they're vampires, werewolves, or something completely different. And in the end, it doesn't matter. There's a sense of mystery, and of terror, and that's what drives the story along.

So, it's fairly middle-of-the-road horror. It's simple and effective, and whilst it's not anything amazing, it works. It feels like a well-crafted piece of filmmaking, solid and reasonably good quality. If you were looking to watch a monster film, you could do a heck of a lot worse than Prowl.

Prowl



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