In this recent Netflix thriller, ‘Prey’, written and directed by Thomas Sieben, five men go on a hike (during their bachelor weekend), and become the (literal) prey of a hunter living in the woods. This German release, now available on Netflix, takes on multiple story lines, inter-twining the relationships of two brothers on the hike, their friends, work, and their love life. The cast is led by two brothers, Roman (David Kross), and Albert (Hanno Koffler), along with Romans’ friends Vicncent (Yung Ngo), Stefan (Klaus Steinbacher), and Peter (Robert Finster). The hunter is named Eva (Maria Ehrich), and her backstory, mixed with the chaotic and intense feel of being in a hunt, makes for a solid thriller.
From the start of the film the dynamic of the five men is intriguing. Due to the fact that it is a bachelor party, the men aren’t super close and there is an underlying tension between the two brothers. There is also tension between the other men as they have opposing views about how to handle their situation. The buildup of tension between the guys adds significant emotion to the film. Once the men begin getting picked off by the hunter, this leads Peter to lose his mind and want to work alone, and he turns Albert and Roman on each other. This makes for a great buildup to the ending and enough action to keep your eyes to the screen. There are only so many scenes the director can shoot of them running in the woods and trying to hide, and Sieben does a great job of including the flashbacks, tied in with the tension between Roman and Albert, and the uncovering of Eva’s backstory, to make for an enticing tale.
The film starts with a flashback of Roman and Lisa (Livia Matthes), Roman’s lover, but then cuts to the men in the woods. This builds suspense, and is necessary for the film because most of the intensity and panic occurs in the goose chase between the men and the hunter. Throughout the film there are different flashbacks that add heartfelt emotion, and take away from the time shown in the woods. There are some moments where the tension and suspense doesn’t feel as prevalent because the scenes are all in the woods, and relatively repetitive. This is one of the movie’s only flaws ,but Sieben does a great job at compensating for the lost action.
There are numerous injuries, issues with phones and cars, and different buildings and people they encounter which add to the action of the film. Eva is a very interesting character because we don’t see who she is at first, and we don’t know anything about her. When Roman discovers the truth behind these murders it keeps the tale afloat, and adds to the suspense behind her actions. In the end it felt like they could have tied Eva’s past and Roman’s relationship with Lisa together, but they didn’t, and the film ends rather abruptly.
Verdict : 2.5/5
The action in the film is good, but not great. Most of the film is shot in the woods and because of this it can be a bit dry at times. There is a good story line, and an intriguing villain, but in the end the storyline fails to come together. It is worth the watch but do not expect too much from this short thriller.