Sunday, October 25, 2009

Prey (movie #65)

In this kind of movie, acting is key. The basic story is that a step mother wants to bond with her stepchildren (a teenage daughter and pre-teen son) so they decide to go on one of those safari tours where you have a guide drive you through a wildlife reserve and you can observe the animals in their natural habitat. The only problem here is that the pack of lions in this particular wildlife reserve have gone rogue and are attacking and killing everyone, so they attack and kill the guide and the family is then stranded in the vehicle in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by this pack of lions and waiting for rescue.

As you can see, given these circumstances, if the stepmother and two kids aren't good actors, the movie will become very tedious and you'll want to shoot yourself in the face. Lucky for us, the acting in this movie is pretty strong. Conner Dowds does a great job playing the young son who wants to like his stepmom but faces pressure from his stepsister to hate her. Bridget Moynahan is great as the stepmom desperate to reach out and connect her new family. Carly Schroeder really surprised me. It's very easy to play the bitchy teen daughter in this kind of movie as one-note, but she managed to add depth to the character and make me care about her and empathize with her situation.

The situation is pretty dire here. The family is vacationing in Africa, and this safari is out in the middle of nowhere with not a lot of hope for rescue (especially since their would-be rescuers keep getting eaten). I really liked this movie and cared about the characters, even though it's not the most original idea in the world (can anyone say "Cujo"?) This is one of the most enjoyable movies I've watched this challenge.

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