Pray for Hell

Director - Todd E. Freeman

Cast - Alan Wone, Robert Blanche

Country of Origin - USA

Discs - 1

MSRP - $24.98

Distributor - Cinema Epoch

Reviewer - Ryan Miller

Pray for Hell Review

 

     I didn't like Pray for Hell initially because for all the stylish art-house appeal it had, I couldn't figure out what was going on. As I said though, this was only my initial thought. Continuing through the film's entirety, I was pleasantly surprised at how much more awesome the film progressively got. Of course, I'm not sure progressive is the proper term since it refers to a steady incline whereas Pray for Hell's jump in quality happens all at once. Does the film's strange editing change any? No, it does not. Does the acting improve tremendously? I'm afraid I can't say that either. The quality came from a sequence about half way through the film that I was suddenly given the right amount of explanation as to what was happening. Mostly.
   So, how does the film stack after this? It's pretty great, to my surprise. The box description likens it to Old Boy, which gave me my initial apprehensions toward the movie. As it turns, the movie is nothing like Old Boy with the exception of it being a revenge flick. Surprise. It's also likened to Kill Bill, which is a closer descriptive analogy, if you remove the Tarantino-isms he's so famous for. The most accurate description on the box is that it's "a movie that attacks with a vengeance from the darkest corners of cinema". It's true. It does. Hell, darkest corners of cinema? I'm not sure if it was meant as such, but I noticed some possible Cabinet of Dr. Calgari editing style homages, if that tickles your fancy.
   The film has a crazy-cool film style from the very beginning, adding grain everywhere, regardless of necessity. The characters fade in and out of the background. The sound often syncs up with actions and music really well in an almost Chris Cunningham fashion. The backgrounds have neat movies running around them via a green or blue screen, I'd imagine. The movie just plain looks cool. I can't properly convey every nook and cranny of this films editing without making it sound strange. Why would you want so much grain, after all? Because the effects work well for this movie. Really well. You can't say it's over done because the film relies on these things as a visual theme. You'll love it, if only for the visual feast it is.
   My absolute favorite scene from the film is the opening credits. Two boxers square off and trade punches repeatedly until a winner is declared. Pay close attention, I discovered shortly afterward it's an important fight and a key element to every single thing that happens afterward. Not that you'll know that for another thirty minutes.
   Pray for Hell is also a movie that repeatedly shocked me. Over and over again, I was surprised by a character's actions. Sometimes I would stand up in my seat, grab my hair, and shout: "This Fucking Movie!" and immediately sit back down, thankful no one else was watching, save for my friend who was doing the same.
   The movie is good. Really good, once you figure out what's going on. I'm going to drop a 4 onto my rating and leave it up to you to tell me if you agree or disagree. If you stick with this movie to the end, you won't be disappointed.