Daniel Stamm made that claim during the same The Hollywood News interview. And according to the “Prey for the Devil” helmer, a combination of tactics made Robert Zappia’s screenplay wholly unique in his eyes. Per Stamm, the first thing that caught his attention was the script largely ignoring questions of the afflicted character’s sanity. “You bought a ticket for an exorcism movie, so it’s a possession,” Stamm giddily notes, adding, “We don’t have to spend 45-minutes on that.”
The clever setup allowed Stamm freedom to properly indulge in the film’s set pieces. More importantly, he says it allowed him to focus more on character. And he makes clear the film’s primary protagonist Sister Ann is what really sets “Prey for the Devil” apart, stating, “Then with it being a female protagonist, that changes everything.” As the film’s trailer addresses, Nuns have not historically been allowed to study or perform sanctioned exorcisms in the Catholic church, and Stamm notes that brings a daring new point of conflict to the exorcism narrative.
Stamm goes on to say the character employing less than biblical, victim-first tactics to the central exorcism sets the story even further apart from traditional possession fare. And in that, Stamm claims Sister Ann becomes that rare strong female protagonist who isn’t just doing the same thing her male counterparts would’ve done. “She’s coming in with an almost secular therapeutic approach,” the filmmaker says, continuing, “and she is challenging the patriarchy … she’s ringing in a new era.” Stamm is clearly hoping genre lovers will embrace the narrative refresh as much as he did — even if critics mostly haven’t (via Rotten Tomatoes).