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‘Prophet’s Prey’ Film Review: This American Horror Story Is All Too Real
Posted on Sep 22, 2015
However, throngs of heathen moviegoers can be schooled, and “Prophet’s Prey” sends an urgent distress signal to the outside world. It speaks for those still inside, in part through the testimonies of former believers and current apostates. Whether their combined efforts will help the cause of mass liberation, spark a Waco-esque implosion, or maybe just draw widespread critical acclaim and kudos for the filmmakers, remains to be seen.
Krakauer, for one, is ever determined to nail the bad guy with the help of Brower, his trusty P.I. sidekick. Krakauer’s personal stake in the story was initially thrust upon him in the late ’90s, when he was followed by church members and run out of Hildale, Utah, in unmistakable, this-town-ain’t-big-enough-for-the-two-of-us fashion. From that point, he became more invested, even obsessed, and he and Brower pursued Jeffs by land and air. They eventually helped federal authorities hunt down and trap the FLDS paterfamilias, by then one of the FBI’s 10 most-wanted criminals, on a host of charges including the sexual abuse of children. At the time of his arrest in August 2006, he was living it up, gentile style, in Las Vegas.
So Jeffs is in the slammer, but his followers are not out of danger—far from it. The film’s final act is the most unsettling of all, powerfully showing how the roots of faith often run deepest and grip hardest when devotees are faced with what looks like End Times to them but salvation to others.
Gamely playing the martyr from inside his Texas cell, Jeffs is making sure his latest stories are spun on an apocalyptic axis. For a brief moment, he received transmissions from his conscience, but he’s over that now. He passes memos to his congregation, declaring that he and the Almighty have teamed up to trigger actual natural disasters in even faraway lands—earthquakes and landslides in Japan, for example—causing the deaths of millions.
And who knows? Granted the opportunity to claim similar credit for last week’s floods that thinned his Hildale herd by a dozen—a portentous, biblical-sounding number at that—he could well issue one of his signature catechisms to that effect as a warning to the still-faithful. Considering how the looming figure of Warren Jeffs is responsible for every last detail of members’ lives, in a way he might even be right.
Meanwhile, he is the constant subject of another camera’s gaze in a prison near Palestine, Texas as he eats, rests, scans the news and stands motionless in spells, listening for a divine voice.
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