Thanks to our new friendship with distributor Paradiso Films, we’ll be bringing you even more movie reviews. The first from them is one that hasn’t been hyped much, but is still worth a look - Hunter Prey (2009). Be sure to check out Paradiso’s web site too.
The producer, director FX artist and writer of Hunter Prey is Sandy Collora. If you are a die-hard film geek who watches the credits to see who does what, you’ll have seen his name under the ‘special effects’ title for such films as The Crow (1994), Men in Black (1997) and Dogma (1999). Branching out from a very successful career in FX (he still runs his own FX company as well, though) he wowed the geek, nerd and comic-con crowd with his third outing into film-making. His first two attempts were well received, but it was the short film Batman: Dead End (2003) that really captured the hearts of geekdom. If you want to see what all the fuss was about, you’d better download or watch the movie on Sandy’s own site. No spoilers here. His next effort, World’s Finest (2004) – another short – received a mixed reception, and it seems he wanted to change tack.
Well, he did, with his first full-length movie, Hunter Prey. I would say overall that it’s a little rough around the edges, but when you consider it was shot in just 18 days on the sort of budget usually eaten up supplying mineral water for Jennifer Aniston’s trailer, that can easily be forgiven. The film begins with a spaceship burning up in the atmosphere, jettisoning the crew and their prisoner planet-side. The crew are under strict instructions to recover the prisoner at all costs. The prisoner, however, is in no hurry to be recaptured and does all he can – including kill – to avoid it.
The film is set on a desert-planet (presumably it made finding locations easier) and tells the story of the hunter and the prey, without ever telling which is which. More importantly, the broad framework of ‘sci-fi’ actually serves as a vehicle to tell the real story. As the tale unfolds, we learn of situations and external influences affecting the behaviour of the central characters, and also why they do what they do. The story itself could easily have been set on a ship, the plains of Africa or just about anywhere – the story is what drives and carries Hunter Prey.
If you are a fan of old-school sci-fi and rather fancy seeing a movie shot with more than an affectionate nod to the sci-fi epics of the 60s and 70s, you’ll definitely want to see Hunter Prey. It’s low-budget for sure, but the story, the atmosphere and the surprisingly well-made costumes for such a miniscule budget could easily give big-budget films with a two-year shooting schedule a run for their money. If you haven’t heard of Sandy Collora before, watch this space. I suspect we’ll be hearing a lot more about him in the near future.