Tuesday 5 April 2011


Out now on DVD and Blu-Ray is the latest installment in the After Dark Originals strand of films. Watch the trailer and read my review, next...

Hoping to run away from her small-town existence and start a new life in the big city, Amber needs to get to Chicago before her new apartment is given away so seeks the help of her friends to move her there in time. When their car breaks down along the way they seek the help of a passing trucker, hitching a ride in the back of his near empty truck. Soon Amber and her friends find themselves deposited at an abandoned warehouse inhabited by an army of bloodthirsty vampires, and must act quickly in order to stay alive.

Brought to us by Four Films (Not FilmFour), Prowl is the latest of the After Dark Originals to arrive on disc after the fairly effective horror flick, Husk. Once again the central idea behind it is creepy enough, even if it's not a wholly original one. The basic set-up will be familiar to anyone who's seen The Descent (albeit with a dash of Masters of The Universe and Breakdown thrown in), but Prowl makes the unfortunate mistake of letting a perfectly good premise slip through its fingers... twice.

When the sexy, young teens climb into the back of the truck, you know it's not going to end well. They bide their time by drinking, doing drugs and playing truth or dare; pretty much the three stupidest things a group of teenagers could do in a horror movie. The enclosed space of the back of the truck is an effective little prison, and from that simple idea there must be a million possibilities of where the story could go from that point. The trucker could have driven them off a cliff, he could have taken them to Mexico just for the hell of it; instead he backs his truck up to an ex-slaughterhouse and uses them to feed a clan of hungry vampires. 

Don't get me wrong, I've got nothing against this basic idea (I'd have been a lot happier if they'd have continued along this path), and the interior of the slaughterhouse makes for a suitable haunted house that quickly thins the cast down to a more manageable number; but the filmmakers didn't know a good thing when they had it and swiftly move on to a cat and mouse chase around the surrounding industrial estate, introducing unnecessary Vampire Queens and dubious character revelations that are just a little bit too convenient to make the slightest bit of sense.

The first half of the film succeeds at building tension for what's ahead, so it's a shame the second half squanders what it's earnt by descending into a barrage of fast cuts, whip pans and shaky cameras once the bad guys appear. There is some interesting visuals at work, placing blink-and-you'll-miss-'em attackers around the edge of frame, but whenever the vamps close in on the constantly running Amber the image shakes so much it's like the camera's been left on top of a discarded paint mixer.

Certainly not the best of the After Dark bunch, Prowl still provides a few scares along the way to its illogical conclusion. Perhaps someone needs to go back and make a different film from Prowl's basic premise, as at its core there is a pretty good idea that this film ultimately couldn't deliver on.


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