A while back I posted about an upcoming anthology film LILITH. While I don’t have any updates on it, I did run across PREY IN COLD BLOOD an earlier film from its director, Alexander T. Hwang. Out of curiosity, I gave it a watch. It takes THE TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE and updates it with a survival horror twist. The result is a flawed but watchable film.
Mason Michael Jon Murphy (LILITH) has just got out of prison and is anxious to recover the gold bars he stashed up in the California wilderness before his capture. There’s just one problem, two couples and a dorky fifth wheel are spending time at a cabin in the area. It’s obvious from the go that there’s tension among them. Especially between Nick (Mark Coyan) and Erin (Darri Kristin). They come across the gold just as the rather psychopathic Mason arrives. Soon everyone is doing whatever it takes to get their hands on the fortune. With very lethal results.
While it is an overly familiar plot it is one that will probably be with us forever. Just this year IFC’s THE MIDNIGHTERS gave us another twist on it for example. Giving it a horror makeover is a solid idea. Up the violence and nastiness and have at it. Which this film does in the second half. The problem is getting that far.
PREY IN COLD BLOOD has two main problems combine to make the first half tough going. There are no likable characters in it. Some are less hateable than others but there’s nobody you wouldn’t be happy to see eat a bullet, or a pair of garden shears for that matter. Add that to the pacing means the first forty-five or so minutes are mostly comprised of a bunch of assholes bickering with each other. That’s not many people’s idea of fun and I wouldn’t blame anyone for hitting fast forward
Once the gold is found and the death and double-crossing commence the film rapidly improves and it becomes a decent thriller. There are some genuine suspense and some good kills. It was also a nice change to see the plot revolve around adults, not the usual high school or college kids.
PREY IN COLD BLOOD is available on multiple streaming and VOD platforms including Streamlette where I saw it.