LET US PREY
Newcomer director Brian OMalley captivates us from the opening of the film all stunningly photographed landscape shots in which Liam Cunninghams stranger seems to appear out of the ocean amid wildly crashing waves, contrasted with cuts back to the empty town over which night has fallen. (The constant cuts back to the placid emptiness of the sleeping town at various points create a decided sense of foreboding). You wish that OMalley had spent more time out of doors than in the police station where almost all of the drama takes place as his forte clearly lies in striking cinematographic composition there is another fantastic shot not long after of a love scene in a parked car in an empty lot lit up by the halo of orange-yellow night light.
Nevertheless, once the drama of the situation and everybodys secrets start to emerge, Brian OMalley loves putting the screw on us. (Even if the script does require an improbable number of murders, people going off the deep end and fatal accidents all to occur in one sleepy village on the same night). The film has a real fire and brimstone judgementalism to it especially at the ending and the dialogue does a fine job of digging in and twisting, bringing out the secrets that everybody harbours. The cast are excellent. The only two recognisable names are Liam Cunningham, an Irish actor with a long history in British film and tv, most recently familiar from Game of Thrones (2011 ), who is not the first person you would think of doing a role like this but delivers the ambiguities well. The other is Pollyanna McIntosh, remembered here for her astonishing performance as the mute wild girl in The Woman (2011), back playing with her native Scottish accent and unrecognisable as a tightly controlled and morally driven officer.
The film reaches a fairly whacked out ending [PLOT SPOILERS] with Niall Greig Fultons doctor calmly talking about killing people as an experiment in seeing if they have souls; two officers conspiring to batter him to death and then pin it on Pollyanna McIntosh when she refuses to go along with this before deciding to kill her instead; and the sergeant (Douglas Russell) walking through the burning police station, with barbed wire wrapped around his bare-chest while covered in blood and ranting Bible verses as he blows people away with a shotgun.
Brian OMalley continued on in the horror genre with the haunted house film The Lodgers (2017).