Let Us Prey (2014)
February 19, 2016 6:14 AM - Subscribe

Rachel, a rookie cop, is about to begin her first night shift in a neglected police station in a Scottish, backwater town. A hit-and-run victim brought into the station for safekeeping turns out to be altogether more than they bargained for.
posted by DirtyOldTown (15 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I thought this was a really deft weaving together of John Carpenter-isms, in particular drawing heavily from Assault on Precinct 13, but with maybe a little Prince of Darkness thrown in. There is a bit of preposterousness in seemingly everyone in this small Scottish town being a murderer. And as cool an idea as the ending is, I don't know if they would have gotten away with it at all if Cunningham and Macintosh weren't the types who could sell anything.

I really enjoyed the moment where Six is challenged again about not having given his name: "You know exactly who I am." It brought to mind the famous scene at the end of High Plains Drifter: "I never did know your name, Mister. " "Yes, you did."

Overall, for me I'd give this script a six (HA! SIX!), and for that reason, I'm not going to look askance at anyone who didn't enjoy it as much as I did. But Cunningham was ominous and magnetic par excellence and Polly Macintosh continues to amaze in pretty everything she's in. The direction was also very good.

So yeah, for me (all scores ranked against horror standards, not the entirety of film): premise, 7; script 6; acting, 9; directing, 8/9.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 6:20 AM on February 19, 2016 [3 favorites]

Cunningham took one of the least engaging characters (on paper) in the Game of Thrones mythos and made him someone who owns every moment he's on screen, so it's no surprise that he's dynamite when you give him a role like this. I agree that script logic is not high here; apparently everyone is a murderer except our heroine and our villain, who are...God and the devil? Or something. And God has to resort to burning himself with matches to curse people, which sounds neither as powerful nor as, like, not-petty as I would picture God being. Is this really all God has to do on a Saturday night? Well, whatever -- it's not a story that holds up to intense scrutiny maybe, but it's a pretty exciting movie with a very clever ending, and a great opening. It's a little CGI-heavy, but that first sequence is just phenomenal.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 9:07 AM on February 19, 2016

Cunningham is the devil, but less in a Malevolent Stealer of Souls way and more in an Agent of Justice Coming to Claim the Evil way. Pollyana's character was kidnapped and abused as a child and he freed her in the course of doing his thing. He's kept track of her and grown to love her and now that he has work in her neck of the woods he's coming to try and convince her to join him in his work, since she knows firsthand its value.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:19 AM on February 19, 2016 [1 favorite]

That bit where he literally appears from the sea is creepy. Ditto the crows.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:23 AM on February 19, 2016 [1 favorite]

I'm not...sure that he is the devil, though. Their exchange made it sound otherwise to me; I may have been reading too much into it, but I felt like the film was saying she was the angel who fell and he was trying to win her back. That the fallen angel would take on human form (and possibly not remember who she was) was something that seemed inferrable. But really it was all a little vague and open to (perhaps too much) interpretation.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 10:30 AM on February 19, 2016

Lucifer is a fallen angel, FWIW. Him being described as that only reinforces the idea that he's the devil, actually.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:31 AM on February 19, 2016 [1 favorite]

Actually... just found this... Here's what the director has to say when asked directly, "Who is Six?"
Liam is Death. He is the Devil, and tonight he has come to collect the souls of the damned.
But as a child brought up in Catholic Ireland, I was always confused by the Devil. We were told he was evil, yet he only took the souls of sinners. So if you weren’t a sinner, if you had done no wrong, was he not your ally? So this is how I see the character of Six in the film. He’s kind of the good guy, provided you haven’t committed any evil acts.

But he’s also old, and very tired. He has walked the Earth for all eternity and when we meet him its become a job. Like Snake Plissken in Escape from New York, he has a job to do, but that doesn’t mean he’s going to enjoy it. He’s also lonely and would also like to share his time with a companion. Many years back, maybe 10 or 15, he met a child by chance whilst taking the soul of a child abuser. He was fascinated by her great strength and her desire to survive, and tonight, many years later, is the night that he will reveal himself to the adult she has become. Everything is about Rachel, the whole night is a serenade to her.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:36 AM on February 19, 2016 [1 favorite]

Interestingly, he also acknowledges how many killers are in one place and says this is part of Six's method, to pull the strings to get them all in one place.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:38 AM on February 19, 2016 [1 favorite]

Actually, that is a really interesting interview in general. Also check out this bit:
The film is set in a small town somewhere in Scotland. But tonight that town is in Purgatory, the waiting room for Hell, and only those who have sinned and committed despicable acts are present.

There are clues to this throughout the film. The opening sequence intercuts with an empty village. Why is it empty? The two Cops pull into a petrol station, but there is no attendant. After Caesar is placed in the cells MacReady tries to call a tow truck, but there’s no answer. We cut back to the town several times during the film, but each time there is no life. The Pub is empty, the Chinese takeaway is empty, the supermarket is empty, the streets are empty. This is because we are ‘elsewhere’.

This is why no one comes to help, and there are no ordinary passersbys on the street or at the Station. They are probably living their lives happily in Inveree, just not this Inveree. We have crossed over!
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:40 AM on February 19, 2016 [2 favorites]

If you want a capsule illustration of how amazing Cunningham is in this movie, consider that in his first appearance, he is brought in escorted by two police officers while injured. He says and does almost nothing AND YET, the overriding feeling you get in this scene is that everyone is in grave danger now because he is here.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:49 AM on February 19, 2016 [2 favorites]

Hmmmm, okay. Their last scene seemed more bluntly allegorical to me than that, particularly his "It's a cold place without you" immediately followed by her "Heaven and hell. Forever and ever," but I guess that makes sense. I'm kind of let down by it, though! It all felt a little more grandiose to me than the devil looking for a girlfriend.

I gotta admit, though, some of the cited explanations for stuff seem a little...uh...like, the three murderous cops all worked together. How deep does this rabbit hole go? Was Six quietly fixing job interviews, giving prospective candidates flat tires and bad cell phone connections for years ahead of this night, all to ensure...? You know. And like, the deserted streets thing reminds me of Dario Argento saying in an interview that Tenebrae took place in a scary near future where some horrific events had depopulated the world and left people scared and jaded, which is for sure a way better thing to say than, "Well, we blocked off a lot of streets to shoot in but didn't think about how weird it would look that no one was on the street."

That said, man, I like the vibe of this movie so much. It may not be a masterwork of screenwriting. That's okay! It's a very effective, very strong little movie.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 10:53 AM on February 19, 2016 [1 favorite]

I really enjoyed the whole vibe of this movie as well but the action at the end had the exact opposite-than-intended effect on me. I just sort of burst out laughing. Then the whole thing with them being in love or whatever. I personally feel they should've left that out and just became revenge buddies.

I spent a good amount of time staring at the Netflix catalog trying to figure out how to find more little gems like this. Still haven't really found any although Blue Ruin does feel like a solid pairing.
posted by M Edward at 2:43 PM on February 19, 2016

I watched this just the other day and really enjoyed it. Cunningham is amazing in it, he says so little but his presence is deeply unnerving. This was definitely a gem of a movie, and I want more like it.
posted by biscotti at 2:39 AM on February 20, 2016

I didn't think Six was THE devil, but A Devil. Both Six and Pollyanna strike me as agents for opposing sides with a shared goal, Six is essentially punishing the wicked and so Pollyanna is his nec. foil. They need each other other.

I did find the sudden transformation of that one cop into FULL ON SERIAL KILLER disconcerting.
posted by miss-lapin at 7:39 PM on February 20, 2016

Okay I did go see this. At first I was thinking John Carpenter doing SE7EN, though by the end I was thinking it was like a Sandman/Constantine crossover.

The dialogue is prettty bad, but it fits the comic book feeling. And what can you do, all the characters are the worst jerks.

The opening sequence^ is pretty fun. It's so OTT that I was joking that it was all one extremely long logo animation for the Irish Film Board.

I thought the deal with Rachel (another Rachel^) was that she was kinda guilty herself, because apparently she didn't tell her parents or other people about the killer, and the list of names on the wall established he would do it again. So I thought she was still on probation/trial too, and in this movie she's always doing the difficult right thing, facing her own reckoning. But, by the end it seemed more like Ser Davos has been creeping on her most of her life, and shows his love by putting her in horrible situations because he likes to watch her make moral choices??? Maybe she should've killed him in the end for his crimes. That's what Yoko Taro would do..
posted by fleacircus at 12:58 PM on October 25, 2018

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