Why ‘Prey’ Makes the Least Out of Sniper Setup

Netflix shares 2021 thriller that lacks thrills, cohesion and a sense of purpose

Confession: This critic loves movies where innocents scramble in the woods while something or someone hunts them down.

Think of thrillers like “Backcountry” or the sublime “Alone” as prime examples.

The plots are simple but effective. And who can’t relate to a person thrust into a life-or-death challenge? It’s like “Squid Games” in Mother Nature.

Yet “Prey,” a German thriller now streaming on Netflix, might be among the worst of this guilty pleasure sub-genre. 

Prey | Offizieller Trailer | Netflix

We follow five allegedly close friends on a different kind of bachelor party. They don’t need strippers or booze, just a little male bonding in the woods.

It’s Roman’s big day, and the film features flashbacks to him (David Kross) and his future bride (Maria Ehrich) canoodling on the beach.


He’s joined by his brother Albert (Hanno Koffler), who seems like a jerk from the jump, and three other mates.

Their stripper-free plans go south when a shot rings out somewhere in the woods. A second, louder POP follows. Whoever fired that gun is getting closer.

Turns out there’s a sniper on the loose, and if the friends don’t find shelter they won’t live long enough to eat the wedding cake. That’s all you need for a genre film, but we’re treated to some workplace tension between the friends.

Might that add another, vital layer to the thriller? Nothing doing, sadly.

In fact, there’s little chemistry to be found in this Wolfpack-plus-one. The dialogue reeks of First Draft-ism, and while we’re not seeking the next Tarantino script it dampens whatever chills spill from the premise.

The hapless quintet can’t rally for an effective battle plan or even muster the sense that their lives are in danger. Sometimes they bicker, forgetting a sniper’s scope is lurking nearby. The next moment, they leave themselves so cartoonishly vulnerable you almost want them to take a bullet.

Don’t feel bad for that reaction. It’s just Horror Movie Morality 101.

The story suggests the fragility of the male ego along with an unspoken nod to the MeToo movement. Just know the killer in question harbors a motive that won’t make sense even under the most sympathetic lens.

“Prey’s” third act features a mind-numbing reveal that adds a silly boost to the proceedings. By then we’re waiting for the last shot to be fired.

Please. Put us out of our misery.

Even the film’s final seconds disappoint. From start to finish, “Prey” isn’t worth the stream.

HiT or Miss: “Prey” packs a can’t-miss premise that, shockingly misses by a country mile.


  1. Hi Christian,
    I see on Rotten Tomatoes, your reviews have star ratings associated with them. Where are these gathered from, as I don’t see any star ratings in your reviews like I do with Barry’s.

    1. I’m not sure why, but early on I decided not to use stars in my reviews. Rotten Tomatoes insists on a 1-4 scale. I’ll def think about updating my system, and I appreciate the feedback. Truly.

      1. Gotcha, yeah, I think for me it is helpful to have some sort of objective measurement. Often I find myself reading your review and wondering whether you felt something was must-see or merely good, or whether it was merely good versus mediocre. I also notice not all of your reviews make it onto Rotten Tomatoes, but I’m not sure why that is. Thanks for all the work you do, I really enjoy the site!

  2. There’s another movie with a similar plot about a bachelorette party starring Maggie Q. “Fear The Night”. There’s a bunch of plot twists.

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