Wide World of Horror: ‘Prowl’ – the endgame of wanting to be conventional

Prowl

Prowl
Written by Tim Tori
Directed by Patrik Syversen
Bulgaria/UK/USA, 2010

There’s nothing wrong with conventional, but by the same token there’s something very wrong with a film that’s too comfortable being conventional. Prowl is the sort of horror film that desires to be nothing more than conventional. From its setup to its reliance on jump scares and an attempted twist; Prowl doesn’t have an unconventional bone in its body. There’s an ache to be vanilla that exists deep within its core, an ache that the film really wants to soothe. Atmosphere, a decent premise, and character are but three elements that Prowl sacrifices in order to be a run-of-the-mill horror film.

There’s a stretch of about fifteen or so minutes near the beginning of Prowl where it seems like the film is going somewhere interesting. The premise is, as previously stated, a decent one, and the setup pays attention to character in a way that greatly helps the premise. As quickly as Patrik Syversen’s film begins to set up an interesting world, the film moves away from said setup. Instead the film quickly devolves into a world of jump scares and faster than lightning villains that go bump in the night.

The speed of the villains, as well as the speed with which the action scenes are filmed, is the beginning of the end for Prowl. Any atmosphere the film had been working with is thrown to the wayside in favor of hard-to-follow action and villains faster than the eye can follow. This creates an almost video game-like aesthetic for the film. In lieu of exploring characters or setting up tense moments, the filmmakers adopt an approach that is more kinetic. The choice to lean towards a video game aesthetic never pays off because of how indecipherable the action becomes. The filmmaking is a muddled mess, and the film itself suffers from the amateurish tactics used by its makers.

Don’t stay for the twist, don’t bother with Prowl at all really. It is a milquetoast horror film, one that meets its goal of being derivative and conventional in every possible way. There are far better vampire films out there, and plenty of horror films that deserve a gander before Prowl ever comes close to your eyeballs. Of course, if one is looking for a movie that strives to fit neatly within the genre label of horror, it’s hard to go wrong with Prowl.

— Bill Thompson

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