The Prey - series review

2015 was a big year for one Alex Alvarez Cadilla. The Montreal-based writer, director and actor is an award-winning content creator and member of the IWCC. With the recent completion and release of independent web series project The Prey, Alvarez Cadilla has now etched his name into the genre to which he has so longed to enter; the psychological thriller.

For a man whose previous work covered mostly documentaries (including some dance portraits on the professional ballet dancers of the National Canadian Ballet) his pivot in this direction, to a scripted psychological thriller, could be called surprising even to those he was already known to, as per one of the comments on Vimeo page where the webseries lives.

Nonetheless, according to several other comments across the web and the members of the IWCC board who have watched the series, Alvarez Cadilla’s first foray into this genre was well executed from every angle. The project was well-written and directed, well-received.

From the launch of the Kickstarter campaign, to the project’s developments being carefully curated and documented on the series Facebook page, this project showed both personality and professionalism throughout. The IWCC is also particularly proud of this project considering around 90% of its members produce comedies. It’s truly fantastic to see our members pushing themselves to new unchartered territory and reaching new heights in their own careers.

There was a heavy visual focus, with little dialogue, Alvarez Cadilla says of his project on the official Kickstarter campaign video, who intended for the piece to be all about suspense and survival. It certainly captivated me, holding my attention close every second. There was no time to take notes, knowing that if I tore my eyes away for one second I might miss some critical moment. The pause button came in handy when I rewatched it back for note-taking.

The low level dialogue seems key in keeping the audience captivated. Eager to understand the intended storyline by drawing our own conclusions, we must take in each event, each look, step and movement made by the characters. Alvarez Cadilla made use of crafty cinematography and constructed some really powerful, notable scenes that need not be given away here; watch it!

For anyone who doesn’t normally get into this genre, or who isn’t keen on violence (myself included), it’s really important to note that the series shows only a very small amount of violence and the majority of it is inferred or assumed without being graphically shown.

As a statement and testament to the cast and crew of The Prey, I think a side-by-side blind test against this project and the trailer of any Hollywood-produced piece of the same genre would probably leave me rather confused.

On a high-level, I’m particularly impressed by the ancillary communication efforts, on social media, which look to have been run by Alvarez Cadilla himself. This is something I see as a key differentiator between independently produced web series and their Hollywood counterparts. They seize the opportunity to make it personal. Examples are naming the crew as they each came on-board for the post-production work, showcasing and celebrating their skills in Facebook posts and images - these are details not often seen in bigger mainstream productions. In addition to helping us identify with the project, it also goes a long way to help the audience understand what it actually takes to get a project like this off the ground.

Congratulations to the cast and crew on a job well done, and not least to all the supporters who helped them make this happen. Wishing you the best at T.O. Webfest this year!

Watch THE PREY: http://www.theprey.tv/play-all-episodes/

Contributed by Kim Adams