(directors: Cire & Matthew Hensman; screenwriters: Matthew Hensman/story by Gustavo Sainz De La Peña; cinematographer: Morgan Schmidt; editors: Cire & Matthew Hensman; music: David Velez; cast: Danny Trejo (Vega), Adrian Paul (Gunnar), Nick Chinlund (Tagger), Kevin Grevioux (Reid), Essam Ferris (Maalik), Justin Arnold (Griffin), Ny’acies Divine (Paine ), Calvin Primich (Kali-Kid), Cleveland Berto (Cody), John Vargas (Dominiguez), Matt Musgrove (Sullivan), Masika Kalysha (Lake), Benny Mora (Bryer), Mingyu Chu (Chen/Karnoctus), Jacob Charlot (Jackson); Runtime: 103; MPAA Rating: NR; producers; Cire Hensman, Lance Miccio, Gustavo Sainz De La Peña, Richard D’Alessio: Lennexe Films; 2022)

“The action pic had more dull spots than lively ones.

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

This B-film, with an all male cast, is a goofy sci-fi adventure story with a low production value. It’s a low-budget version of the Predator (1987) with Arnold Schwarzenegger. Prey is about a furry monster creature, KARNOCTUS, chasing down gold-hunting mercenaries and U.S. soldiers (Griffin (Justin Arnold), Lake (Masika Kalysha), Sullivan (Matt Musgrove), Dominiguez (John Vargas), Paine (Ny’acies Divine), Kali-Kid (Calvin Primich), and Cody (Cleveland Berto) trapped in an Afghan cave with no way out.

The entertaining but disposable gender-bending mash-up (war, heist and creature film) comes with some funny dialogue and a sharp political message about banks controlling everything, from politicians to voters. It stars a foursome of aging mercenaries, and is helmed by the first time filmmakers, the brothers Cire & Matthew Hensman. It’s based on a story by Gustavo Sainz De La Peña and a script by Matthew Hensman.

The title refers to a deadly beast in Afghanistan that local legend calls Karnoctus (played by a guy in a suit (Mingyu Chu) rather than as a CGI creation).

Tagger (Nick Chinlund) is the cigar-chomping tough guy leader of the mercenaries, with the other members being Gunnar (Adrian Paul), Vega (Danny Trejo), and Reid (Kevin Grevioux). They are a band of CIA-sponsored ‘Expendables’ dispatched to the Afghan wild on a mission to steal Taliban gold that the U.S. government intends to use to fund secret and illicit state-sponsored operations. The guys discover there’s some sort of Afghani sasquatch in the cave, which is the film’s main plot point.

The nutty plot wears thin and becomes tiresome, the subplots are tedious and unnecessary, Paul and Trejo have small parts that amount to cameos and that the creature’s POV is taken seriously is both a good and bad thing. My big problem is the action pic had more dull spots than lively ones.


REVIEWED ON 6/17/2022  GRADE: C+