Review: Prey For The Devil

For fans of 'The Nun' (2018), you can actually see what is happening in this one!

Jessica Mckeown
2nd November 2022
Image Credit: IMDb
Halloween season is the season for new horror movies. Facing competition from Halloween Ends, Smile and Barbarian, Prey For the Devil surprisingly tugs on the heartstrings and makes a relatively enjoyable watch.

The film follows Sister Ann, a nun haunted by her mother's possession when she was a child. Now working at a Boston school for exorcisms run by the Catholic Church, Sister Ann finds herself targeted by the malicious demon that claimed her mother and is in a race against time to free young Natalie from her possession. The film is rated 15 by the BBFC for "strong supernatural horror, domestic abuse" so obviously be mindful of the sensitive issues in the film.

Sister Ann is played by Jacqueline Byers (Salvation), who does a wonderful job at portraying a traumatised individual. Her bond with 10-year-old Natalie (Posy Taylor) is at the heart of the film with her desperation to save the young girl highlighting a theme of sacrifice. In general, the film's themes of motherhood, sacrifice and trauma are very clear, mirrored in the flashbacks to Ann's horrific childhood. The film also tackles the issue of how religious guilt plays into adoption and abortion. Despite it being a film with the heroes being Catholic, it doesn't demonise those that have abortions or give their children up for adoption, but instead shows the guilt those individuals are wracked with and how their relationship with God may suffer.

Clocking in at just over 90 minutes (the average for the horror genre), this film wasn't particularly fast paced. A lot of notable moments from the trailer, such as Ann getting choked by the possessed old man and a possessed Natalie crawling up the walls, occurred quite early in the film. The film did do a good job at maintaining an eerie atmosphere throughout, steering away from the darkness-equals-creepy idea that most horrors follow (I'm looking at you The Nun (2017)). The camera movement isn't smooth instead feeling handheld, evoking the sense that Sister Ann is being watched. The sound design was also well executed from the truly terrifying screams of the possessed to the whispering Sister Ann hears.

Following my watch of the film, I learnt that the new title of the film is The Devil's Light. I think the initial title fit the film quite well, even if it's never fully explained whether it's the actual devil wanting Sister Ann. The base storyline of the film is that our hero, usually the embodiment of innocence and purity, is the target of a demon. In that way, the film is a pretty generic horror dealing with possessions and exorcisms and demons. At the end of the day, it is just that: an enjoyable watch but not particularly memorable.

Prey For The Devil is currently in cinemas.

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