...and that trend is any and all JAPANESE FILMS. Creatively devoid Hollywood latched onto some Japanese horror films like The Ring and The Grudge and cranked out some vastly inferior remakes. Because these did well, the original Japanese versions became a hot commodity in video rental stores...and that's the start of our problem. Because these did so well in your local Blockbuster, we are now getting flooded with TONS of Japanese horror movies. So where's the problem? Here it is: Ringu (The Ring) and Ju-On (The Grudge) were GOOD Japanese horror movies. Not all Japanese horror movies are good, and some are just plain terrible. That doesn't seem to matter at the moment, since if its Japanese and horror, then America wants it!
Pray has ridden the coattails of this Japanese horror fervor, which it absolutely doesn't deserve. This is one BAD movie. I have no idea if people awarding this movie 4 or 5 stars are just being pretentious pseudo-intellectuals, but I cannot imagine anyone who appreciates cinema not being horrified at how bad this film really is.
First off, while Pray fancies itself a horror movie, there really is no horror in it. Usually, horror movies have to have at least ONE scary or unsettling moment. Perhaps one split second of Pray qualifies as 'horror'(and I'm being generous here), the rest of it is an INCREDIBLY boring and illogical mess. The boring part is because nothing really happens for 3/4 of the movie. When I say nothing, I mean NOTHING. On top of that, the last 1/4 of the movie has the only real happenings in the film- AND THOSE HAPPENINGS ARE BORING TOO. Make no mistake, this is not a 'psychological' horror film- this is just a very BAD and boring "horror" film. Now, on to the illogical part. Have you ever seen a horror movie where a child walks or runs past an adult who wants to speak to the kid, and the adult doesn't try to grab them and say "Wait, I need to talk to you!". No, the adult just stares and watches the kid go right on by and around the corner, and then is shocked when after finally following them around the corner, the kid is nowhere to be seen. Well, that happens OVER TEN TIMES IN THIS MOVIE!! You would think by the fifth time the stupid adult would grab the kid, but NOOOOO, it makes perfect sense to just stand and watch with a blank look on your face as the kid walk away for the umpteenth time. None of the characters in Pray act remotely like a real person would act, and that makes the film even worse.
To top it all off, the directing is terrible. The film starts at a very bizzare point, with no backstory to tell you what is going on, or who any of the characters (or what their motivations) are. Because of this, you don't ever give a damn about any of the characters in this movie- and since they are boring you to death for 3/4 of the film, you will actually PRAY that they all meet violent ends. The acting is subpar as well, especially the two lead actors. What a laughably bad movie Pray is.
Just like Hollywood, the Japanese make LOTS of REALLY bad movies. Pray is one of them. Just because a movie is Japanese, does not mean it will be a good movie. Don't bother with Pray unless you are having trouble sleeping (it will cure that right away). Instead, check out some GOOD Japanese films like Ringu, Ju-On, and (for the more adventurous) Ichi The Killer.