Sunday, 10 April 2011



I'm not "down with da kidz" or whatever, but I believe the current technical term for something that's just about okay but thoroughly unremarkable is "meh". (Of course, that might have been last week and the kidspeak term is now "squagg" or "Norwich" or something). I can believe "meh" because it is pretty much the sound I made as the end credits rolled on this, the first of the new batch of After Dark horror movies to hit DVD shelves. Meh. It's a bit blah, a bit huhh, a bit nhooeh.... It's a movie to which you respond with sounds rather than words, grunts rather than a vocalised post-film summing up, and "meh" rather than "it's just about okay but thoroughly unremarkable".

In Prowl, all Amber wants to do is get away from her dead-end job at the meat counter in her hope-free small town and start a new exciting life in the big city, and ropes in her friends to drive her to Chicago in time to rent an apartment. The van promptly breaks down and they cadge a lift with a trucker - who instead delivers them to an derelict abbatoir. Abandoned, but not empty: home to a clan of flying, black-eyed blood drinkers that pick off Amber's friends one by one. But there's something about Amber that even she doesn't know.....yet.

Despite obviously being a vampire film, the word "vampire" is never used, which is honestly the only level on which it even approaches a film like Near Dark. Vampire movies are apparently never out of vogue, thanks presently to Twilight, despite the vampire being one of the weaker screen monsters (for all their lack of conversation and poor cookery skills, give me zombies any day). And can we please have a moratorium on movies set in abandoned warehouses? I know you're trying to recapture that grimy basement squalor of Saw and the like, but these urban spaces are all the same (especially in the dark), and while they may be cheap and they may boast cavernous darkness that might contain unimaginable horrors, they're not particularly interesting locations to look at. Alright, maybe this is due to the DVD coming just after 13 Hours In A Warehouse and 30 Days Of Night: Dark Days and I've just had a glut of derelict storage spaces recently, but please use more exciting locales.

And again, can we please have some lead characters worth giving a damn about? The six here are idiots whose existences revolve around sex, beer and weed and I hadn't the slightest interest in which, if any, made it to the second half of the film. Prowl's just about okay as a late-night time-filler: it does the job, it has a couple of effective jump moments and some good make-up work but it really doesn't have much going for it. The defining word really is "meh".



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