Prey for the Devil – Movie Review
Director: Daniel Stamm
Writer: Robert Zappia (Screenplay)
Writer: Todd R. Jones, Earl Richey Jones (Story)
- Jacqueline Byers (Bad Samaritan)
- Virginia Madsen (Candyman)
- Colin Salmon (Resident Evil)
- Nicholas Ralph (All Creatures Great and Small)
- Ben Cross (Star Trek)
Plot: A nun prepares to perform an exorcism and comes face to face with a demonic force with mysterious ties to her past.
Runtime: 1 Hour 33 Minutes
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Story: Prey for the Devil starts when Sister Ann (Byers) starts working at an exorcism school. She starts by working on the medical side with Dr Peters (Madsen) and learns from exorcist expert Father Quinn (Salmon).
When it becomes clear Sister Ann has a closer connection to the potentially possessed. She is given the right to study exorcism, becoming the first female exorcist recruit in the school’s history. All this, while she is dealing with her own tormented past.
Verdict on Prey for the Devil
Sister Ann grew up believing her mother was possessed, despite medical records showing otherwise. She wants to give back, helping people who are in need, be it from possession or mental illness that connects the two. Ann has a connection unlike many other people working in the cloth. Letting her break down walls to help one of the most concerning patients in the hospital.
Dr Peters has studied both sides, she always looks to find medical reasons ahead of religious ones. She tries to help Ann address her own past believing it could stop her in her time of need.
Father Quinn brings us the true religious side of the happenings. He prepares new priests for the battle they will face, that includes Sister Ann.
Father Dante is one of the other trainee priests working there. He works with Ann when they find a new potential problem that isn’t being solved.
Jacqueline Byers is great in the leading role. When it comes to the acting, this has some high standard performances, from genre veterans including Virginia Madsen and Colin Salmon. Everyone involved gives us the authority figures they are playing down perfectly.
The story follows a young nun who starts working in an exorcism school. She gets to see how they operate, learning the medical approach before turning to religion. It is an interesting glimpse behind the curtain and one that follows the typical exorcism story lines.
Where this movie can start to fall short, comes with the over-the-top possession sequences. This doesn’t help the open discussion the film is encouraging with the mental health aspect behind possession. Everything on that side of the discussion gets thrown out the window because no medical reasoning behind what is happening, happens. It fails to capture what made ‘The Exorcist’ a standout in the genre, it shows too much without giving enough behind it all.
Prey for the Devil is a horror thriller following a nun learning to balance possession with mental health problems. This should be interesting, but sadly, it ends up returning to a jump scare movie. The music doesn’t help, there is never a calm musical moment before something horror related happening. With the one good jump scare being the standout in the film. However, the location is fascinating, even if we don’t see everything. Getting a glimpse behind the curtain on how possession is studied helps this movie a lot.
Final Thoughts – Prey for the Devil is a jump scare heavy exorcism movie.