Prey aka Prooi
Directed by Dick Maas
“True it would have been nice to have a credible plot and ditto lion. But obviously the premise itself made the former a near impossibility and the budget wasn't big enough for the latter.“
When mutilated bodies turn up in Amsterdam the police enlists the help of the zoo veterinarian. She quickly recognizes the marks on the corpses and concludes a full grown lion is stalking the streets of Amsterdam. The city isn't easily convinced and neither is the press. But as the bodies pile up the city enlists the help of a professional wild game hunter.
As a fan of practical effects I thoroughly enjoyed Prey. The lion might not fool any audience members, except the most gullible, but it's still an impressive looking lion. It's not a crappy effect like some people claim. Rather than a liability the lion is a highlight.
True it would have been nice to have a credible plot and ditto lion. But obviously the premise itself made the former a near impossibility and the budget wasn't big enough for the latter.
As for the acting, Prey probably won't win any awards. Hey awards are bullshit anyway. Sophie Van Winden is more than capable enough to carry a movie featuring an animatronic lion terrorizing Amsterdam. As for Julian Looman as the boyfriend while not the most engaging performance did a well enough job. And it was fun to see that, the character he portrayed, was deeply flawed.
The only character that seemed out of place was that of Mark Frost the wild game hunter. It's the sort of character one incorporates in a script to have played by a famous actor. You pay the actor hefty for a few days or hours work and crank up the box office draw of the movie. An actor like Mark Frost won't do that of course.
Whether or not this was ever the intention I don't know. But the fact that it feels like it is says enough about the character. We do learn a few things about the character but they seem to have no bearing on the plot.
The plot as a whole seems to suffer a bit. There's some allusion as to this not being a regular lion and some question as to where it came from. But none of that gets explained in the movie. There's some welcome humor here and there but it could have used a bit more of that Sharknado craziness. Minus the crappy CGI.
Despite being a thoroughly entertaining movie Prey tanked at the box office. But movies like these can't compete with Hollywood productions unless they've got an edge. Instead of to the genre's core audience Maas decided to appeal to a younger audience.
Maas complained about the 16 classification barring most of his target audience. The 16 classification didn't prevent Maas' previous horror outing Saint from becoming a success. But Saint was superior to Prey and more importantly controversy surrounding the poster art bombarded it to a must see.
In the eighties any Dutch movie had some sort of nudity to draw more audience members in competition with big budget movies. That practice all but disappeared in recent years and the opposite seems to be true. Movies avoid nudity to appeal to as wide an audience as possible. From the outside looking in the Netherlands as a whole has evolved from the one of the most freethinking countries in Europe post WWII to a conservative countries. For a movie by the director of the Racy Flodder comedies Prey disappointingly has no nudity.
If you're looking for serious drama you're shit out of luck but if you like to be seriously entertained give this Amsterdam safari a go.
Item added : 19/1/2018
Flower and snake
Directed by Masaru Konuma
“...it makes the franchise morally hard to defend in the post Weinstein era.”
Makoto Katagiri is the son of a former prostitute who now makes porn loops. The son turned impotent by an event in his youth. When his boss asks Makoto Katagiri to train his wife to become a sex slave he accepts the task and quickly falls in love with her.
This first entry is also the funniest movie in the franchise. The boss is portrayed so comical he would be considered racist if this were a non-Asian movie. Whether you'll find anything to laugh about will however depend on your sense of humor. In the Harvey Weinstein era anything smelling of misogyny is readily condemned. Even comedians have been warned rape is nothing to laugh about. What then about Pinku flicks in which rape is used primarily to titillate the audience?
One could argue that one can be a fan of the tv show 24 and still oppose torture or be a fan of Death Wish starring Charles Bronson not Bruce Willis, why would you like that movie anyway? And still be against vigilantism. Although this might be a bad example because it also features rape. But here the rape is construed as being part of a condemnation of rape. Consider it a public service teaching people rape is bad and rapists get their comeuppance in the end. Like the audience is still in doubt of the first part and the second part seemed to be far from the truth in Hollywood at the time.
Not so in Pinku while sometimes the rapists get punished (rape the 13th hour) most of the time they don't, as is the case with Flower and Snake (part one). So are pinku flicks a celebration of rape or do they incite rape? Detractors will answer yes to both questions and fans will claim no.
The female characters in pinku Flicks, like in slasher flicks also often blamed for being too misogynistic, have exceptionally strong female characters. While the men are mostly portrayed as being weak and or impotent. It's hard to claim the movies intentionally promote rape when the rapists act out of weakness not strength. What movies make people do or doesn't make them do is fodder for sociologists and expansive research. But so far there has been little concrete evidence movies have much influence on people's behavior. Somehow people seem to be able to differentiate between reality and fantasy.
In his book Japanese Cinema: Encyclopedia - The Sex Films, Weisser calls Flower and Snake well-made garbage. While I don't agree with his assertion. One can see his point of view. Flower and Snake has no redeeming value not really. Question is does it need to. Flower and Snake is clearly just meant to titillate.
And titillate Flower and Snake does. What else can you expect from a movie starring Naomi Tani the empress of Japanese bondage. It does however make the franchise morally hard to defend in the post Weinstein era.
You might want make up your own mind. And if you have to suffer through multiple viewings of this well-made 'garbage' to come to a conclusion, so be it.
I certainly recommend watching Flower and Snake at least once. It's thoroughly enjoyable although not as haunting as many other entries in the genre.
The edition on review is the Dutch release with Dutch and German subtitles only.
Item added : 6/1/2018