I am not one to usually criticize a movie for the way it is marketed, but sometimes we all have to break the unspoken rules we have laid out for ourselves. If you’re going to market a movie that looks absolutely coco-bananas-crazy and make it known that it stars Danny Trejo, can someone please ensure that Danny Trejo is in the movie for more than five minutes? Either way, the movie delivers exactly what it sets out to do, and that is creating a movie that is so tedious and so out there and wild that it is going to be adored and loved by the crowd that owns every Vinegar Syndrome release ever put out there and intends to never stop. To put it bluntly, the movie is, by no means, good in the traditional sense, but in the non-traditional sense, audiences will love this genre-bending, action flick that has a very odd, non-veiled political message inside of it while they hold a beer in one hand and have their minds shut off.
The Prey: Legend of Karnoctus, from directors Cire and Matthew Hensman and also written by the latter brother, focuses on a group of soldiers in Afghanistan hunting down Taliban as they get trapped inside of a cave with no escape. Upon being in the cave they quickly discover that they are not alone as a creature lurks inside, hunting them down one by one, unless they can protect themselves and not fall victim to the creature’s hunger. The platoon of US soldiers who get stuck in the cave consists of Griffin (Justin Arnold), Lake (Masika Kalysha), Sullivan (Matt Musgrove), Dominiguez (John Vargas), Paine (Ny’acies Divine), Kali-Kid (Calvin Primich), and Cody (Cleveland Berto). While they’re stuck in the cave they run into two other Americans, Tagger (Nick Chinlund) and Reid (Kevin Grevioux). Things get heated and tense between these two and the US soldiers who are wondering why there is another couple of Americas in that specific part of Afghanistan and what exactly they’re looking for.
The aforementioned mention of there being a political agenda behind this film is certainly valid as it becomes a plot point in the film that Tagger and Reid are there to collect some chests, like a video game almost, but cannot divulge what is in the chests or who hired them and what happened to their other teammates. It divulges that information later to the audience, leaning heavily into the military political complex side of things. The Prey: Legend of Karnoctus certainly isn’t the movie anyone would think would be talking about the politics of the military industrial complex, but alas it does.
The unexpected turn of events provided in the script are not the only surprises throughout the feature from a storytelling perspective as some of the exposition is rather shocking as well. There are a few minutes at both the beginning and end of the movie featuring Danny Trejo, who plays Vega, in a cartoon in the animation style of Two Brothers from Rick and Morty’s interdimensional cable shenanigans that is subtitled over quick-cut animation to give exposition to our main story and, moreover, the ending of the film. While this is certainly jarring and catches the audience a little off guard, it certainly leaves everyone talking about it which, at the end of the day, is the goal of a feature.
If we look at the performances throughout The Prey: Legend of Karnoctus, there is nothing to truly be talked about. Everyone is either over-acting to the lengths of Nicolas Cage being parodied by Danny Pudi on that episode of Community, or is phoning their performance in so hard that it becomes instantly forgettable. Again, not the biggest issue the movie suffers from as it is just a feature that begs you to turn off your brain and watch the carnage unfold in front of your eyes. Which, although it doesn’t happen too often, it does that well. There is absolutely an audience for this level of B movie, and those people who love to indulge in these films will get an absolute kick out of what unfolds on screen, but the film makes itself too niche, causing it to segregate itself from a mainstream audience who will feel there is a lot left to be desired.
In select theaters June 3rd, 2022.
Available on cable providers June 7th, 2022.
Available on digital July 7th, 2022.
Final Score: 2.5 out of 5.