Today: February 22, 2024

Hunter Prey

A fun, if underdeveloped, Sci-fi that will appeal endlessly to fans of the genre but leave others a little short changed

A fun, if underdeveloped, Sci-fi that will appeal endlessly to fans of the genre but leave others a little short changed.

Take a browse through the archives of YouTube and you will find a
host of fan made films and trailers for cinematic outings yet to make it
to the big screen. Top amongst those is a short film called Batman:
Dead End which sees the titular Dark Knight take on a host of
enemies that is a totally Bat-sh*t (Sorry!) concept with guilty
pleasures written all over it. All this achieved a couple of years
before a certain Christopher Nolan brought credibility back to Batman.
Former Stan Winston creature designer Sandy Collora made the film and
his obvious talents in that field are ever present in his feature film
debut Hunter Prey.

When a group of space commandos crash land on a dessert planet they
soon realise the prisoner they were escorting has escaped. As the
prisoner, known simply as Jericho (Bartram), begins to turn the
tables on his hunters it becomes a deadly game of cat and mouse. With
his entire platoon wiped out Centauri 7 (Poitier), the last remaining commando, must track and capture Jericho before the rescue ship arrives.

Despite its micro-budget, Hunter Prey is a sci-fi fans wet dream. Paying homage to things like Star Wars and Star Trek it
is clearly a pet project. Indeed the use of the word ‘frack’ will have
Battlestar Galatica fans smiling to the gods. In many ways it is a
low-fi version of David Twohy’s Pitch Black (2000) in the set up and execution. With the prisoner fast proving to be the more adaptable on the alien planet, it resembles Vin Diesel’s
Riddick from Twohy’s outing. There are some nice ideas thrown in there
as well with the commando’s bio-suits providing them with everything
they need while Jericho has to go ‘Rambo’ on the environment to survive.

Writer-director Collora uses his design back ground to great effect with some wonderful alien make-up and Boba Fett (Star Wars)
inspired costumes on display. His direction is solid, if unspectacular,
and he certainly utilises the best of the constraints placed upon him
monetary wise. His script throws up a fun twist at the mid-way point but
overall feels drawn out. In many ways this could have been another
short film for Collora but his ambition to make a feature makes Hunter
Prey fall flat in the middle third. Both the opening and conclusion are exciting with enough intrigue to keep you interested but it resorts to formulaic chase moments that, given the limited nature of the film, become all to familiar.

For the most part the cast are hampered by the limits of the make-up
and costumes. The commandos are invariably wearing their helmets that
make for a Stormtrooper like effect of not having a face to connect
with. However, once they do remove their visors the make-up allows for
an appropriate level of gruffness. This is especially true of Poitier
who lends a wonderful gravel voice to Centauri 7. Meanwhile, Bartram as
Jericho is mysterious enough to make you wonder what his true
motivations are. Bartram was the man that brought Collora’s Batman to
life and on this basis he should certainly find a career in sci-fi, even
if it is more likely in television rather than cinema.

Hunter Prey will not be for everyone. In almost every way it is a
film aimed at those who religiously attend Comic Con. For those many
though it will deservedly find a place in the heart of die hard sci-fi
enthusiasts. Collora needs to work in his script pacing but his ideas
are inventive and exciting. With a bit of financial backing he could
become an exciting filmmaker to watch, akin to Sam Raimi’s early work.
If you have ever worn Spock ears or wielded a fake lightsaber then hunt
this prey down.


Alex Moss Editor

Alex Moss’ obsession with film began the moment he witnessed the Alien burst forth from John Hurt’s stomach. It was perhaps ill-advised to witness this aged 6 but much like the beast within Hurt, he became infected by a parasite called ‘Movies’. Rarely away from his computer or a big screen, as he muses on Cinematic Deities, Alex is “more machine now than man. His mind is twisted and evil”. Email: alex.moss@filmjuice.com

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