Darkness Shall Rise
by Brody Rossiter
The arrival of a mysterious stranger in town is an ominous jumping-off point for many classic horror pictures. From 1922’s illustrious Nosferatu, to the contemporary shocks of 30 Days of Night, the approach of a shadowy figure often spells great danger for nearby residents oblivious to the woe crashing upon their shores.
Let Us Prey immediately takes advantage of this scenario with a startling sequence depicting a malevolent force emerging from ferocious waves before making its way into an isolated Scottish town. The nameless creature is embodied in human form by Game of Thrones’ Liam Cunningham. After an unfortunate collision with PC Rachel Heggie (Pollyanna McIntosh) and the car of a young joyrider, Cunnigham’s gruff wanderer finds himself the subject of much debate inside the local police station.
Filled with suspect individuals that rest on both sides of the law, the mystery man quickly goes about unearthing the chilling secrets that lurk beneath the surface appearances. A wife-beating teacher locked up downstairs; a doctor with a bloodthirsty quest for knowledge; fellow officers with a fondness for playing bad cop, worse cop – all are forced to face-up to their hidden deviancy.
As PC Heggie, a former victim of child enslavement at the hands of a sadistic paedophile, attempts to navigate her first night in the rundown station, she soon finds herself on a violent collision course with those desperately striving to keep their sins hush-hush. Contending with the murderous tendencies of those around her, and her own tortured psyche, the troubled policewoman’s only hope of survival may rest with the increasingly otherworldly stranger in Cell 6 and the secrets he holds.
Rife with effective scares, unnerving set-pieces, and featuring a diverse and deceitful cast of characters, Let Us Prey is a low-budget Irish horror that more than delivers on its grand and subversive ambitions. The furious finale betrays the slow build of the picture’s sinister narrative, however, the relentless sense of menace remains, ensuring that this battle for the truth and survival goes out with a fiery bang instead of unsatisfying whimper.