I really, really wanted to like this movie. As a person who grew up Roman Catholic I am an absolute sucker for any and every exorcism movie that comes out.
Prey for the Devil is about Ann (Jaqueline Byers), a nun at the Vatican with a history of demonic possession in her family. She is selected to join Father Quinn’s (Colin Salmon) new exorcism class which was created to deal with the rising need for the old rite to come back.
Jaqueline Byers is excellent in this role. She believably plays a person suffering from childhood trauma who turned to religion to cope. She is compassionate and kind but also sullen and haunted.
Colin Salmon also gives a great performance in his role as Father Quinn. He is inquisitive, insightful and incredibly charismatic. It’s just a shame that both of these characters have their performances ruined by what I can only kindly call piss poor CGI.
I know it’s unrealistic to expect practical effects all the time in horror movies but there really are some things that have no business being CGI. This movie butchers the tension, dread and character development it was building toward with some of the worst CGI I’ve seen in quite some time.
Ann is visiting a little girl who is possessed by a demon. This is where the movie goes downhill. The little girls face warps and distorts and bends in some absolute uncanny valley garbage special effects. She climbs the walls and has wounds appear on her hands and absolutely none of it looks believable in any way. I was completely sucked out of the movie and just couldn’t bring myself to care about anything that happened after this. I recognize that this is a me problem but that’s how bad the CGI was.
At the end of the day there are so many better exorcism movies out there that I can’t in good conscience recommend this one. I do hope to see Jaqueline Byers in more horror though because she was an absolute bright shining star in this.