Film Review: Sister Ann Has Demons Of All Sorts To Fight

Prey for the Devil is the latest in a long line of horror films with demonic possession as the crux. Robbert Zappia wrote the script, bur he shares story credit with Earl Richey Jones and Todd R. Jones. Daniel Stamm is the director with a cast that includes Jacqueline Byars, Colin Salmon, Virgina Madsen, and Ben Cross.

Byars stars as a young nun with a troubled past who is convinced that her mother died some years before at the hands of a demon who was possessing her. The Catholic Church forbids women from learning to perform exorcisms, but Sister Ann wants to usher in a new day, especially when she meets a young girl named Natalie who seems to have the same affliction. Sister Ann ends up with a couple of unexpected allies, and she has to confront her own dark past as well as the dark forces closing in on her.

This is not a film that is going to win any awards anytime soon, however it seems to be par for the course for this genre. I actually ended up kind of sympathizing with Sister Ann a bit more than I expected. Of course, the actress being an attractive blonde doesn’t exactly deter me from sitting up and taking notice. I did find her character to have a pretty good balance of vulnerability and courage. Some of the revelations about her past were a little far-fetched for my liking, but that is also pretty standard fare for this type of film. Colin Salmon’s presence was quite welcome here. I do not know if many of my American peers would recognize him, but I have seen some of his work in England, and he was a steady presence in the James Bond films during Pierce Brosnan’s era. I actually found myself enjoying the fact that he had a significant role here, although I wish the writing was better.

The visual effects were pretty well done with the expected grotesque displays of creepy agility and unsettling stares from the possessed. There were a few moments that were effectively startling.

However, this one still doesn’t escape the disappointing sense of predictability. There were some quality cast members. Jacqueline Byars was pretty new to me, but she seemed well chosen for the lead role here.

I guess the whole twist on the genre was that the lead protagonist was a woman, but that didn’t keep me from noticing the presence of too many usual, yawn inducing tropes seen in the vast library of possession movies.

Some facets of this one I found somewhat interesting. I have no real objection to the cast, and the special effects worked well enough. Saying all of that, this is not likely to stick in my memory as any grandmaster piece of cinematic history. Colin Salmon and a pretty blonde nun just aren’t enough to turn this into anything that will makes much of an impression.

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