From the duo who brought you Know Fear comes this anthology that takes the man vs. nature theme and adds a horror spin to it.
Four stories are told that give a terror spin on the topic of “man vs. nature”. The host of a UFO encounters show has seemed to have faked it all for audiences. However, a chance encounter with a couple who claimed they saw aliens and have been possessed by them may be the shot our host is looking for. Next, during World War II, two American soldiers have successfully capture a German soldier which soon ends disastrously when the random gunfire may not be as random as first thought.
Next is a tale of a young man who meets a fisherman, who tells him about a legendary creature that lives in the lake as well as the strange cult that worships the beast. At first, the young man is skeptical until he learns he may be closer to the situation than he ever imagined. Finally, a cop and his target are both kidnapped by a family of chainsaw-wielding maniacs and while they attempt to escape, the duo finds themselves at odds with each other over the perpetrated crime the target was responsible for.
The duo of Jamison LoCascio and Adam Ambrosio do something quite interesting with their anthology of “man vs. nature” and gives it their own spin on things. Ambrosio makes his directorial debut on the first story, “Encounter Monthly” while LoCascio takes over directing the three other stories. One can say it is their love letter to shows like The Twilight Zone and Tales from the Crypt. Much like those shows, there are good and there are well, not bad, but felt it could have been better.
The only story that seemed somewhat bland compared to the rest is the second story, “Harrowing”, which features Samuel Pygatt and James M. Reilly as two American soldiers in WWII who capture a German soldier. While they interrogate him and somewhat bond over him, they hear random gunfire that they soon discover may not be the case. It is not bad, but compared to the other three stories, this is the one that makes one goes “meh”. By the end of the tale, you just say “okay” and move on to the next.
“Encounter Monthly” is a wild ride at the host of a UFO show who always comes across people who claim to have made contact but were debunked. However, when the chance comes to expose an actual encounter, a dissention happens between Jeff Ronan’s overexciting host and his cameraman, played by Paul Pallotta. “Blood Beach” is quite a fascinating story of Josiah Schneider’s young man who comes across a fisherman played by Marc Lubbers, who resembles a bit like Brian Doyle-Murray. The fisherman’s story about the creature and cult is quite fascinating but the twist that our young man may be somehow connected really amps up the story.
My favorite story is the last one, “Nelly”. Shot in black-and-white, this is the wildest story of the group. The story of a policeman pulling over a woman who kidnapped a child only for both to be kidnapped makes for a heck of a story. The reason is because first, we have the kidnappers, one decked out in a Fred Flintstone mask and wields a chainsaw a la Leatherface. But the piece de resistance is the chemistry between David Johnson’s loudmouth cop and Alisha Spielmann’s character as they bicker back and forth while trying to escape.
In the end, How Dark They Prey is a mixed bag when it comes to anthologies. The first is the warm-up, the second is a bit bland, the third is a bit amped leading to an exciting fourth story. Definitely worth checking out if you are into anthologies.
WFG RATING: B-
A Film Valor production. Directors: Jamison LoCascio and Adam Ambrosio. Producers: Jamison LoCascio and Adam Ambrosio. Writers: Adam Ambrosio, Anthony LoCascio and Jamison LoCascio. Cinematography: Jamison LoCascio. Editing: Jamison LoCascio.
Cast: Jeff Ronan, Paul Pallotta, Samuel Pygatt, James M. Reilly, Josiah Schnieder, Marc Lubbers, David Johnson, Alisha Spielmann.