Let Us Prey

Year: 2014
Production Co: Creative Scotland
Director: Brian O'Malley
Writer: Fiona Watson/David Cairns/Brian O'Malley
Cast: Pollyanna McIntosh, Liam Cunningham, Bryan Larkin, Hanna Stanbridge, Douglas Russell, Brian Vernel

Rachel (Pollyanna McIntosh) wakes up from a nightmare before reporting to her first day of work as a police officer in a remote, rainswept Scottish backwater. Her co-workers Sergeant MacReady (Douglas Russell), and PCs Mundie (Hanna Stanbridge) and Warnock (Bryan Larkin) all have a bit of a chip on their shoulders and aren't the most welcoming bunch, but Rachel just wants to get on with it.

Her first collar is Caesar (Brian Vernel), a local hoon who's apparently hit a man in the street, except that when both he and Rachel look for the body, the car has blood on the headlight but the man is nowhere to be found.

She takes Caeser in while her colleagues sarcastically school her on the way they do things, getting increasingly impatient but trying to keep her temper in check. All of a sudden the man Caeser hit walks calmly into the station, not answering any questions and carrying only a beaten-up notebook full of names.

They call up the local doc, who – while examining the man – experiences a flashback to something nasty and tries to kill the guy. They barely contain him, throwing him in the cells downstairs. He joins Caeser and also a local man arrested for domestic assault on his wife.

The man finally starts talking, seeming to regard Rachel differently from everyone else. With his references to old testament concepts, guilt and confession it's obvious he's some sort of avenging angel, maybe God or Satan himself there to extract regret out of everyone for their sins, and things rapidly spiral out of control. Mundie and Warnock have their own secret which we see in another flashback, and what the God-fearing MacReady turns out to be harbouring in a nearby house couldn't be any less pious when he goes abruptly off the rails.

The bodies pile up in short order and before long Rachel finds herself trying to hide in a police station that's burning out of control, with a blood-covered madman stalking her with a shotgun. Though the plot makes sense in context about how it got there, it's a 'that escalated quickly' moment that's almost funny.

Cunningham is cool as ice as the mysterious Six, and because the film doesn't reach farther than the technicalities the budget seems to have allowed there are no tell-tale rough spots in the effects or thrills on show. In fact the more way-out element is the script by Fiona Watson, David Cairns and Brian O'Malley. It looks like they had a three day bender with no sleep and then set themselves a challenge – write a movie that goes from The Bill or Midsummer Murders to The Evil Dead in the fewest number of logical steps.

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