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In Association with
Hunter Prey (2009)
Director: Sandy Collora

review by J.C. Hartley
Sandy Collora came to attention at the Dan Diego comic convention where his short, Batman: Dead End, which pitched his version of the Dark Knight against the Joker, an alien endomorph and a gaggle of predators, provoked acclaim before being pulled for copyright reasons. It's still a YouTube hit. This feature is an impressive debut. That's not to say it's perfect and in fact it is prey (see what I did there) to a host of genre clich�s.

Here, a ship comes down on an alien planet. A squad of grunts come under enemy fire, reducing their number to three. Their dialogue is rendered almost incomprehensible to these old ears by their helmet intercoms. Seems they had a prisoner on board who has subsequently escaped and is the source of the enemy fire. The troop commander and his lieutenant have issues, and they prove incapable of resisting the fugitive's firepower.

In a slight reveal, the commander explains that the prisoner is the last of his kind, the soldiers have destroyed his planet but somehow he is threatening their own home world. For about two thirds of the film I thought I had missed some kind of explanation as to the nature of this threat, which eventually was supplied. The grunts take off their helmets and despite sounding like Harlem Marines out of Aliens, are revealed to be, well, aliens.

The fugitive prey takes out two more of his pursuers but notably ignores the opportunity to kill his final tracker. When he tricks this one and overcomes him there is a major reveal. The alien fugitive is human! The exultant 2001 style music suggests this is the end of the picture but there is more. Centauri 7, the surviving grunt, has an embarrassing relationship with Clea his AI link-up computer thing. She flirts; he calls her 'Baby'. It's stuff like this which drags the film down a bit.

Otherwise, this is a gripping and technically proficient SF movie. In a hilarious bit of irony the worst performance is by Sandy Collora the director, as a Star Wars/ Star Trek type bounty hunter whose character jars with the serious nature of the film thus far. I was gripped to a degree, I wanted to know what happened, but I found the ending unnecessarily ambiguous. Own up. You just didn't know how to finish it. Mr Collora has a movie career future but he needs a co-writer!

This film looks great and presumably cost a fraction of some of the big budget SF releases of the year. We only need a similar energy to be applied to a cinema of ideas.

Hunter Prey

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