To state that The Family That Preys is Tyler Perry's most accomplished screen effort to date doesn't change the fact that it's still exactly the kind of preachy, pandering, tone-shifting, gospel-laced soap opera that he's served up time and time again to his dedicated audience. However, in the grand scheme of things, his skills as a writer-director have been honed just well enough to make one wish that Perry would trust someone else to polish his rough spots at the script stage, so that his cast might play at something a bit more substantial than petty drama and broad sermons, and so that his critical reputation as a filmmaker might grow (well, recover) from the shrill likes of his trademark Madea character.