The action-adventure horror/monster feature film, The Prey: Legend of Karnoctus, is co-directed by Eric Hensman and Matthew Hensman, from a script Matthew Hensman and Gustavo Sainz de la Peña co-wrote from a story by de la Peña (“Modeling Life in Cars” TV Series), in an homage to the action-adventure and monster flicks of the 1980s.

About/synopsis: In the Afghanistan desert, a group of mercenaries out for treasure complete their greatest heist. Seeking refuge from the hunting Taliban in a nearby cave, they are soon joined by retreating US soldiers, and both groups are trapped within by a rocket explosion at the cave’s entrance. The newly joined parties need to work together to find an escape through the labyrinth but soon realize they’re being tracked by a deadly beast that local legend calls Karnoctus; and they have become… the prey.

To say the film is totally original will be an inaccurate statement, as it appears quite the mash up of ideas from several films from the past – Predator, among them for starters. The “monster” within the cave is not unique either, as it appears dimly lit (especially when viewed on a computer screen) and lives in the shadows ready to pounce, claw and rip apart anyone who dare enter the cave where it dwells.

Despite that the script/story appears to be a repeat of similar scenes we’ve seen before in the horror or monster films, it still has some entertainment value from the dialogue among the group of mercenaries at the beginning of the film where Vega (Danny Trejo) stars for a very, very short while. I am very disappointed that his role is so brief, but someone had to leave to get the chopper to complete the heist.

While the mercenaries are hiding their loot temporarily, some members of a military unit are walking on foot out in the desert. It is cool the writers want to show the camaraderie between the soldiers, but they look too relaxed and unprepared to be on a mission. Some of the dialogue seems too immature and when walking toward a village, they hear shots fired. They do not appear authentic, and I was not invested in the characters. That changes somewhat when they are trying to escape the heavy fire, run into a cave and end up with the entrance sealed off when a rocket is fired at them.

The surviving unit members are all male except for Lake played by Masika Kalisha. The acting is more serious (and better) when the military unit and the “Special Ops” (self-titled by the mercenaries) clash in the cave. Once they get over who is leading who toward an exit from the cave, they can’t be too careful about what lurks in the shadows. There is some good dialogue, humor and the drama as one falls prey to the monster with the bad hair and weird eyes that glow in the dark.

Cast: Danny Trejo (Machete, From Dusk till Dawn) as Vega, Adrian Paul (“Highlander: The Series”) as Gunnar, Nick Chinlund (Chronicles of Riddick, Con Air) as Tagger, Kevin Grevioux (Underworld) as Reid, Essam Ferris (Maalik), Justin Arnold (Griffin), Ny’acies Divine (Paine ), Calvin Primich (Kali-Kid), Cleveland Berto (Cody), John Vargas (“Mash Up” TV Series) as Dominiguez, Matt Musgrove (Sullivan), Masika Kalysha (Lake), Benny Mora (Bryer), Mingyu Chu (Hot Guys with Guns)  as Chen/Karnoctus), Jacob Charlot (Jackson), Fahim Fazli (Argo, Iron Man), Fito de la Parra (Canned Heat).

The Prey: Legend of Karnoctus: 93 minutes / USA / English /MPAA Rating: NR

The film had a theatrical release in Los Angeles June 3, 2022, then became available nationwide on all major Cable VOD platforms, including Comcast, Dish, Charter, DirecTV, Cox, and Verizon Fios. On July 7, the film will debut on digital platforms, including iTunes, Prime Video, Vudu, and Google Play.

Source: Lennexe Films

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