REVIEW: ‘Prowl’

Amber (Courtney Hope) is on the run in "Prowl".
Amber (Courtney Hope) is on the run in "Prowl".

They say that you can never go home again.
What exactly does that mean?

It’s usually one of those nebulous phrases that someone says during a bittersweet homecoming. Sometimes, however, it’s just the hard truth. You can’t go home. Sometimes you have to leave, you have to get away from the comfortably and the standard and you have explore the wonders of the world.

It’s something that doesn’t happen in “Prowl”.

Amber (Courtney Hope) is tired of her small town life. Her dreams of escape hinge on an apartment in the big city. But it’s not the only dream she has; she dreams of being chased, falling, covered in mud and being caught. It’s something that haunts her. However, all her dreams are interrupted when the owner of the city apartment tells her he’s going to lease to someone else if she can’t get in immediately to put down the deposit. After much scrambling, she gets her friends to help her get to the city. On the way, mechanical problems put their transportation out of commission and a passing trucker offers to take them the rest of the way. The journey takes an unexpected turn when the driver takes them to a mysterious warehouse populated with dangerous creatures.

The first American feature for director Patrik Syversen, “Prowl” gets a firm grip on the ordinary, holds on for dear life and then piles flaws upon flaws upon flaws. You have the stereotypically “pretty” and pretty stereotypical cast. You have the best-looking meat counter girl I’ve ever seen in Hope’s Amber. You have her best friend (Ruta Gedmintas) who still hung up on her beefy ex (Joshua Bowman). You have the stoner couple (Jamie Blackley and Perdita Weeks) and the nerdy guy who has a crush on Amber. These are only superficially developed. It’s obvious they are only around to die.

Ordinarily, if you’re going to have cardboard characters, you should at least try killing them in a way that entertains the audience, but even that is not accomplished. Most of the kills take place off-screen. The few that don’t are only bloody after the fact. This is a cardinal sin. You have to have one or the other: interesting characters or interesting kills. “Prowl” has neither. It seems to be a case of a film being a slave to the genre instead of being a slave to the story: tired genre tropes abound. One that stuck out in particular was the old “no cell signal” trope. Amber tries to make a call and there is no signal for it to go out. Moments later, Victoria (the big bad played by Saxon Trainor) calls Amber’s cell from one of the victims’ cell phones and voila! the call goes through, revealing Amber’s presence. Logical flaws like these drag the film from watchable to maddening.

The positives are rare. The cast does a fair job, given what they have to work with. Maybe with a better script or better interpretation of the one they had, there might be more to talk about.

“Prowl” is a jumble of nonsense, predictability, jump-cuts, and jump-scares circled around what could have been a promising premise. It is a journey that goes nowhere.

Joe Lopez
Dubbed, "TerrorScribe" by a former editor, Joe made the conversion to horror sometime in the mid-2000s. Little did he know he'd favored the genre all of his life. When not struggling with short stories, he provided genre film reviews for local entertainment sites and later genre sites who could suffer his cynical views.

It was that same cynicism - and some might say hubris - that lead him to have a brief flirtation with filmmaking. His first two efforts, "Annotated" and "Antes Que Seja Tarde (Before It's Too Late)" both premiered at a local H.P. Lovecraft film festival. A third short, "Survivor Girl" proved to be his undoing though plans are in the works to revived the cursed project.

Born and raised in Dallas, TX., Joe now resides in a small Texas town. Statistics say more dead bodies turn up in small towns that big cities... though he claims to have NOTHING to do with that.
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2 thoughts on “REVIEW: ‘Prowl’

  1. Obviously you know nothing about horror films. Consensus of this film, Prowl, is audiences love it, feel the characters are very real, keeps their attention and interest and feels that the actors and actresses are awesome in their roles (very natural). The production company is being asked to make a sequel. Also this film is a leader in box office revenue’s. Read the reviews, their awesome! Sorry……I think you have this one wrong!

  2. Even if I’ve never seen a horror movie in my life, I would still recognize the fundamental flaws in the story. I understand that no one likes to read bad reviews of movies they like but ridiculous generalizations used to try to invalidate my opinion is not the right way to go. Some people will like this and some won’t: it’s the nature of entertainment and especially the horror genre.

    And for the record, sequels aren’t necessarily the sign of the quality of a movie, just on a studio’s desire to cash in.

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