‘Prey’ is a German suspense thriller that follows the sinister story of five men who are ambushed while hiking in the woods. What starts as a pre-wedding trip with friends quickly turns into the fight of their lives when a faceless adversary attacks Roman and his companions with a long-range rifle. The film follows a classic “less is more” approach and only gives us snippets of backstories that are just enough to decipher the bigger picture. If the purposely sparse narrative left you with a few questions, we’re here to fill in the gaps. Here is the ‘Prey’ ending, explained. SPOILERS AHEAD.
Prey Plot Synopsis
The film opens with a scene featuring Roman and his fiance on vacation at a beach, where they kiss. Snippets of the two together are seen throughout the film intermittently. We are then taken into a forest in Germany, where five men kayak down a stream. They are in a jovial mood and joke with one another until they get to the shore, after which they begin to hike through the deep woods.
The terrain is steep, and one of them, Vincent, stumbles and is narrowly saved from falling into a deep gorge by Roman. The men then continue their walk, during which they discuss the company that Albert and Peter work at. It is revealed that Roman, who is Albert’s younger brother, also wants a job in the company and has been promised one by his brother, who has not yet delivered on the promise.
The group soon begins to approach their car when they suddenly hear a resounding gunshot. As they look around for the gunman, Vincent realizes that the bullet has grazed his arm, which starts bleeding profusely. The men hurry to get into their car to get away, but a second bullet flattens one of their tires. They now realize that the mysterious shooter is actually targetting them and that the first shot was not a mistake, as they earlier hoped.
When their second attempt to enter their car results in another shot being fired in their direction, the men decide to take cover in the forest and attempt to find the road on foot. They soon come across a woman standing by the edge of the river in a clearing. The men shout out from afar, asking her whether she knows the closest way out of the forest. In response, the woman wordlessly picks up a rifle lying near her feet and shoots Stefan through the head.
Prey Ending: Does Roman Die? What Happens to Albert and the Others?
The others run away in panic and take shelter amongst boulders, where they discover that Albert’s ankle is sprained. Somehow, they make their way to a nearby forest lodge, where the woman behind the counter allows them to use the phone. However, before they can talk to the police, a bullet flies in through the window and kills the woman. After being shot again, Vincent dies at the hut, and the remaining three run to a nearby cluster of houses.
Here, Peter and Albert argue when Peter suggests leaving Albert whilst he and Roman go and find help. Peter then goes his way alone and is shot. Meanwhile, Roman stumbles upon a house where he discovers footage on a computer of a few young drunk boys in the woods who stumbled upon a mother and child by the river. An argument between them led to the young child being shot.
Roman then realizes that the woman shooting at them is the child’s mother and goes back to where his injured brother Albert is resting. As he goes through Albert’s phone, trying to get a signal, he discovers that his brother has been having an affair with his fiance, Lisa. Disgusted, Roman leaves and finally manages to sneak up behind the mysterious woman.
After a brief struggle, he is able to get the rifle away from her. The woman steps off a cliff as her last move, leaving Roman lying alone in the forest with the rifle. Therefore, Roman narrowly manages to escape death, despite the mysterious shooter firing a bullet into his thigh. Now, with the gun in his possession and their assailant likely dead, Roman has a good chance of surviving. However, because it is almost nightfall and he is in the middle of a forest with no light source, Roman has a tough night ahead of him, made worse by his injured leg.
Roman will likely have to wait till the morning before he can go back to his brother Albert. Albert’s fate is not as clear since he has been shot in his shoulder and is bleeding profusely. He, too, will have to spend the night in the forest and wait till the morning before attempting to escape. However, considering that his foot is also severely injured, Albert’s fate lies largely in the hands of his brother Roman.
This adds another complicated dynamic to the climax because Roman has recently discovered Albert’s affair with his fiance Lisa and walks away from his brother in disgust. However, the fact that Roman fashions a makeshift bandage for Albert before leaving him tells us that he still cares for his brother and will likely come and rescue him once the sun rises. Despite the two brothers likely surviving, their relationship with one another seems to be irreparably damaged.
Who is the Mysterious Shooter? What Happens to Them?
The mysterious shooter turns out to be a woman named Eva, an aggrieved mother who lost her child and lives in the forest. The hut that Roman stumbles upon belongs to her, and she has lived there alone for an unspecified amount of time, surrounded by toys and trinkets that belonged to her daughter. Seeing the interiors of the hut, it looks like Eva has been there for a long time and also lived there when her daughter was alive.
What is more difficult to determine is how long her daughter has been dead. One clue is that all her daughter’s belongings seem to be relatively clean and in working condition, pointing to the fact that perhaps the tragedy has occurred quite recently. Another point that supports this theory is that if Eva had spent many months shooting hikers in the woods, word of her crimes would have likely reached the authorities by now, and she would have been apprehended.
Therefore, Roman’s friends are likely some of her first few victims, and her daughter’s death has also occurred quite recently. In the end, when Roman manages to wrestle the gun away from her, Eva walks back over the edge of a high cliff and is most likely dead. Throughout the film, her expression remains stoic (except in the flashback, when her daughter dies), making Eva a nuanced character who channels aspects of the victim and the villain.
Who is Anne? What Happened to Her?
Anne is Eva’s daughter who was killed in a mishap involving young hikers that came upon the mother and daughter in the woods. According to the footage that Roman finds in Eva’s hut, the young boys were drunk and carrying hunting rifles when they found Eva and Anne by the side of the river. When Eva tried to stop them from filming her and her daughter, one of their guns accidentally killed Anne. The boys then ran away, leaving their camera, which is how Eva has the footage of what happened. It is also likely that one of the boys dropped his rifle whilst running away, and this could be the gun that Eva has been using since.
Eva’s entire motive for harming Roman and his friends seems to be misdirected revenge. In her grief over her daughter’s death, the mother seems to be taking her anger out on any hikers she finds in the woods, possibly equating them with the ones that killed her daughter. Considering Anne was killed by a group of young men, she likely sees Roman and his all-male group as a close substitute and proceeds to kill them one by one.
Read More: Best Thrillers on Netflix