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Featured DVD Review: Prowl

March 24th, 2011

Prowl - Buy from Amazon

Prowl is part of the first wave of films produced by After Dark. Most people know the distributor for their HorrorFest line, where they took films made by other studios and added their stamp of approval. That met with limited success and for every strong entry, there were two or three misses. Will their homegrown films have a better hit to miss ratio?

The Movie

We are introduced to six teens as they are driving along a country road... whoa... Deja vu.

To be fair, it doesn't quite start that way, but we do have a very similar scene quite early in the movie.

Prowl starts with the introduction of Amber (Courtney Hope), who works a dead-end job in a small town and desperately wants to escape her life. Her friends, while sad to see her leave, are supportive, and drive her out to Chicago. However, while driving along a country road... the van breaks down. A kindly truck driver stops to help them out, but he's unable to fix their fan. He is going to Chicago, and after a little persuading, he agrees to take them with him, but five of them will have to ride in the back of his truck, since the cab will only fit one more person. They take some precautions (sending pictures of the truck and the driver to their friends) before they head along their way. At first it's party time and five in the back get drunk and have fun, but when the trip starts to take a little longer than they thought, they begin to get worried. And when they contact their friend in the cab, the driver answers and says he's asleep, but don't worry they'll be there soon. But "there" is not Chicago, but an abandoned slaughterhouse, or not so abandoned, as they soon learn.

What happens next is too much of a spoiler to get into, so we'll stop with the plot details here.

Although, as with the last After Dark movie I reviewed, you could probably guess where it's going. A group of teens / young adults are led to secluded area, and are there picked off one-by-one. The identity of the killer is a little different than most such films, as is the fact that the killers outnumber the potential victim by a substantial margin. This, plus the twist at the end, help the story stand out somewhat. Also a selling point is the acting, which is far better than average for the genre and which helps the more fleshed-out character feel real. Finally, pacing was not an issue here, as we spend enough time getting to know our characters, but not so much time that we impatiently wait for the action to start. And when the action does start, it keeps its momentum going for the entire running time.

On the other hand, the shaky-cam was overused.

That said, the positives outweigh the negatives by a heavy margin and fans of the genre should be pleased.

The Extras

Extras include an audio commentary track with the writer, Tim Tori, two of the lead actors, Courtney Hope and Joshua Bowman, and via voice mail, the director, Patrik Syversen. To emphasize, he didn't call during the screener to interact with the group, he left voice mails that were played occasionally during the movie. That's a rather unique way of doing things, but it works. There is also a making of featurette, but at less than three minutes, it's too short to be of much substance.

The Verdict

When I got a chance to review Prowl and Husk, I figured they were two throwaway horror films, but that's not the case. In fact, both are worth checking out and even with a DVD that is a little light on extras, fans of the genre will likely want to pick them both up.

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