Pray (2007)

About the Author: Paul Andolina is one of my favorite people to talk movies with. If you like his stuff, check out his sites Wrestling with Film and Is the Dad Alive?

I recently finished reading a book called Celluloid Sermons: The Emergence of the Christian Film Industry, 1930-1986. Christian films have been a staple in my life since a very young age but I had no clue how it even started. I would have never guessed it started in 1927 and how it went from being distributed church to church on 16mm to big screens and DTV titles. Ever since starting the book I had been on the hunt for interesting and odd Christian films and that is how I stumbled upon Pray. I would like to preface that I’m coming at this film a little bit different than most of my reviews as I’m looking at not only the entertainment value of the film but also what the film is saying theologically. I was a religion major in college and still do read quite a bit about theology, I’m a Lutheran so many of my comments will be coming from that doctrinal standard.about as theologically sound as the film, which is not very good.

 

Pray is a 2007 Christian thriller supposedly based on a true story that involves a young lady being stalked by an unknown suspect in a mall after closing time. A lot of the stuff I had read about the film talked about it being a Halloween rip-off but apart from a few references to the film, like the woman who goes missing being named Laurie Curtis a portmanteau of the protagonist’s name from Halloween and the name of the actress who portrays her, and the antagonist being credited as the shape in the credits, it’s a different animal than Halloween.

The movie is about miracles and how God uses harrowing situations to call folks to him. This is a prevalent belief in popular Christianity, that God uses situations to get people’s attention instead of Holy Scripture being sufficient to turn men’s hearts to Christ. It’s all about the experience, you know? How boring would it be if someone’s testimony was simply I went to church and heard the sermon with the Word properly preached and I started to see my sin and longed for the sweetness of the Gospel: you gotta have scary killers stalking people and miracles to move folks into conversion ya dig, but I digress apart from some pretty crappy theology, I guess the point of the movie is to entertain you.

It is a mildly entertaining film but I certainly wouldn’t be showing it to people who are not Christians in an attempt to “save” them as they’re more than likely going to laugh in your face after you show them this. The big twist of the film is that there is no way this young lady should have survived and it was an actual miracle that protected her from the killer. I’m not one of those folks who believes miracles are impossible but I think they are far and few between since Scripture is revelatory and sufficient for the conversion of mankind.

The acting is a bit amateur but not once during the movie did I feel the characters were acting odd, most of the cast is teenagers, and they act about how I expect kids of their ilk would. This movie isn’t going to win any awards for being a great horror flick but it’s a nice little thriller that does not feature nudity, crassness, or much violence which may be what someone who buys this film is looking for. Most other viewers, especially horror fans will find little in the way of this being worth their time.

If you are a sucker for low budget films this one may be up your alley, it went on to not only spawn two sequels but a Pray 2.5 as well that combines this film and the 2nd with some added material. I didn’t manage to pick up a copy of it 2.5 but I do have both Pray 2: The Woods and Pray 3D: The Storm that I will cover as well. The DVDs also include Bible Studies on the discs themselves but they’re probably about as theologically sound as the film, which is not very good.

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