On the surface, Let Us Prey bears a few similarities to Last Shift, released the same year. Both movies follow troubled cops in unfriendly environments, which both happen to be police stations, but Let Us Prey has the upper hand in sheer madness. Officer Rachel Heggie (Pollyanna McIntosh, of The Woman, Tales of Halloween, and most recently The Walking Dead) is stuck on overnight duty at a police station in the unpleasant company of nymphomaniacs, drunk teenagers, and a sinister older gentleman in a dapper overcoat (Liam Cunningham). As the night goes on, it becomes clear that something isn’t right, and things go from bad to worse, and then get even worse.
The building in Last Shift is haunted by the ghosts of a cult that worshiped something older and more evil than Satan, although their scare tactics are indistinguishable from your usual Satanist hijinks (however well-staged). The building in Let Us Prey isn’t haunted, per se, but all police stations have a certain mood after dark--one of loneliness, of dark and wet; and they usually hang onto the smell of puke, sweat, and cigarettes. It’s not hard to imagine that stench just looking at the dimly-lit interiors of Let Us Prey, but they take on a new dimension when Liam Cunningham stops by to visit. He doesn’t have a name other than Six, which is the number of the cell Officer Heggie locks him into, but coupled with the opening scene--where he appears amid the chaotic ocean spray and ancient rocks of the Irish coast, coat swishing and a murder of crows circling overhead--it’s hard not to imagine him as some devil, if not the devil.
Other than smoke, glower, and growl some ominous dialogue, he doesn’t do much other than brood in his cell, like a cross between Hannibal Lecter and The Exorcist’s possessed Regan, but he doesn’t need to. His mere presence seems to incite, or elicit, the very worst in those trapped with him at the police station--and for Game of Thrones fans more accustomed to seeing Cunningham play devil’s advocate as Ser Davos than plain old devil, watching him sink his teeth into this role a delicious treat all on its own. As the traumas, psychoses, and Biblical mayhem spiral out of control, Officer Heggie, like us, is drawn toward the cool, dark mystery of his character, the black hole around which the movie turns, inviting the viewer to rewatch after rewatch.
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"Curtains" is where you can catch movie reviews by the Metal Lifestyle staff.