In 1991, a fan of the TV show “Doctor Who” decided to launch a direct-to-VHS series called “The Stranger”, starring former Doctor Colin Baker, his former TV sidekick Nicola Bryant, and former Doctor Who villain “Davros” as characters just dissimilar enough from those roles to avoid legal issues. While not as terrible as that could have been, the feel of it being a home movie for the benefit of one man – its maker – was occasionally difficult to shake off.
So it is with 2013’s “The Deadliest Prey”, a sequel to Prior’s most famous movie, “Deadly Prey”. Although the names are the same, and it has a handful of the same people in it, it’s very little more than a fan-made tribute to the first movie, with the money man actually making an appearance as a money man, funding the all-new hunt of Mike Danton.
Colonel Hogan (David Campbell) didn’t die at the end of the last movie, way back in 1987, and has in fact been in prison all that time – he might be the only person to receive an appropriate legal punishment in this entire filmography. He’s picked up on his release from prison by Sophia (Tara Kleinpeter, who was in all of Prior’s last three movies), who clearly has a thing for old angry men, and she’s already set up a new military base so he can exact his revenge.
Mike Danton (Ted Prior) is living a nice quiet suburban life with his new wife Alison (Cat Tomeny) and son Michael (Ted’s actual son, also Michael), but he’s caught, in the exact same was as he was in part 1, while taking out the garbage. So he’s captured, taken out to the woods – yes, once again we’re getting treated to a lesson on the flora and fauna of the areas immediately surrounding Mobile, Alabama – and sent out (in his pyjamas) to run away from a large group of men with guns.
Oh, and there are three “nerds” who I presume are Kickstarter backers – one of whom is wearing an “Everything Is Terrible” shirt, so he may belong to that group – for this movie, as none of them are actors, sat around a table playing a game and bemoaning the lack of realism in modern gaming. The woman says “true that” to a point where she’s clearly trying to launch a career at fan conventions as the “true that lady”. They decide to help Danton later, but their subplot is so awful and amateurish I can’t be bothered to talk about it.
Let’s talk Bad Guy Economics!
I wondered, for a while, how Hogan was funding this, how he found people willing to die in order to hunt and kill one guy in the woods. In the first movie, he had a job, and that job was training soldiers by having them hunt the most dangerous game. Simple, and effective. But now he’s hiring people, and these people all have to agree to track another human through the woods and kill them, not because he’s a bad person or anything, but because Hogan wants him dead. Plus, not a single one of these people can go to the cops and say “do you know what this lunatic is planning out in the woods?”
Turns out his entire enterprise is being funded by a couple of rich douchebags, who want to turn it into an online TV show. Let’s discuss this. First up, every ISP in the Western world would block any and all links to a stream of murderers trying to commit murder, and anyone who tried to pay to watch it would be arrested. It’s not like you can fund Isis via PayPal! Also, anyone can watch it at any time (it’s on in bars, and the three nerds find it almost immediately) so, how are these guys making their money?
But I’m getting ahead of myself a little. Danton starts slaughtering Hogan’s men immediately – I counted 15 deaths in the first 20 minutes – and continues killing at the same grim pace throughout. At no point does he check one of the soldiers for a mobile phone or a radio he can try and get help with; he seems happy to be trapped in a forest with apparently hundreds of men trying to murder him with guns which they all decide not to use when they come into sight of our hero. Danton really kills a lot of people, and shows zero remorse, even when one of the guys begs for his life after saying he only took the job because he needed the money. As this is all on camera, he’s going to have a rough time explaining it to the authorities, one would think. Oh wait, they don’t exist! Not a single cop is seen doing what it takes the nerds ten seconds to – track down where the broadcast is coming from and go there.
Fritz Matthews, who was killed in part 1, returns in part 2 as his own brother, wanting revenge on Danton – the years haven’t been too kind to him, but he does his job as well as could be expected. I was hoping for a brief appearance from Doug “Pappy” Harter, who I know wasn’t even in part 1, but it looks like he’s retired. Or died, and no-one told IMDB. Hope you’re okay Doug, if you’re reading this!
Having now watched all but one of the officially released David A Prior movies, I’m really not sure why “Deadly Prey” is so beloved by bad movie aficionados. It’s okay, for sure, but isn’t much more than a bog-standard “The Most Dangerous Game” re-telling with a sprinkle of “Rambo”. “Killzone”, “Death Chase” and “Night Wars” are all either weirder-plotted or more entertaining (or both) and “The Final Sanction” has the campy entertainment in spades, too.
According to the limited information online, this was filmed at least partly because they had a few days extra either before or after filming “Relentless Justice”, which will be the end of this long strange trip. It shows, too. If you really liked the original, then I guess watch this for whatever closure you assume it may bring to you. If not, then seriously avoid it and just remember Prior for when his bad movies were at least fun.
Rating: thumbs down