(director: Brian O’Malley; screenwriters: David Cairns/Fiona Watson; cinematographer: Piers McGrail; editor: Tony Kearns; music: Steve Lynch; cast: Liam Cunningham (Six), Pollyanna McIntosh(PC Rachel Hegie), Bryan Larkin (PC. Jack Warnock), Hanna Stanbridge (PC. Jennifer Mundie), Douglas Russell (Sgt. MacReady), Brian Vernel (Caesar Sargison), Niall Greig Fulton (Dr. Duncan Hume), Jonathan Watson(Ralph Beswick); Runtime: 89; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Eddie Dick/John McDonnell/Brendan McCarthy; Creative Scotland; 2014-Ireland/UK)

It wastes too much time to set-up the over-the-top fire and brimstone third act.

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

A torturous to watch heavy-going carnage-filled gothic horror film helmed by first-timer Brian O’Malley (“The Lodgers”) and written by Fiona Watson and David Cairns. It won the Méliès d’Argent for Best European Fantastic Feature Film at its world premiere at the Belgium International Fantastic Film Festival in 2014.

Though fast moving it failed to hold my attention, as it wastes too much time to set-up the over-the-top fire and brimstone third act.

At the tiny backwater West Highlands Scottish town of Inveree, rookie constable Rachel Hegie (Pollyanna McIntosh) reports for her first day of work on the night shift after her transfer. Rachel walks to work and arrests an arrogant joyriding speeder, Caesar (Brian Vernel), for hitting a bearded person standing on the road. Problem is the vic vanishes. The police sergeant (Douglas Russell) puts out a dispatch call for the patrol car of Mundie (Hanna Stanbridge) and Warnock (Bryan Larkin) to find the mysterious vic (Liam Cunningham) and bring him in. When they do bring him to the station, he remains silent and shows no ID. When the local doctor (Niall Greig Fulton) touches him during his examination, the doctor suddenly snaps and lunges at the mysterious man and tries to kill him. After the doctor is jailed the mystery man is further questioned and starts gabbing to reveal himself to be some kind of black magic figure who brings out horrific past events from those in the police station.

The doomsday believer tells us that ‘come midnight the wicked must pay for their sins.’ The tension mounts as all the contentious characters in the police station have their past sins exposed and begin to deal with adversity, as midnight rapidly approaches. The renown cinematographer Piers McGrail delivers the superb visuals that should be pleasing to horror fans pining for a bloody horror pic. Let Us Prey is a horror pic under the sub-genre of a Mysterious Other World Visitor film. The best of these films might have been Pier Paolo Pasolini’s Teorema (1968), which was about a stranger infiltrating an upper-class household to create miracles.

The film with the story it’s closest to was The Traveler (2010), in which Val Kilmer played a stranger locked up at a police station who was seeking vengeance.

REVIEWED ON 10/6/2017 GRADE: C  https://dennisschwartzreviews.com/