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Sunday, 23 January 2011

Hunter Prey (2010)

I'd seen this on the shelves a few times, and was curious about the rather retro sci-fi cover that told of the delights hidden within. Always up for some old school science fiction and in need of entertainment for a train journey, I rented the flick from iTunes and discovered a little gem of a film that has a few issues, but is on the whole great.

Made on a shoestring budget, Hunter Prey makes great use of locations to create a convincing alien landscape rather than CGI or sets. It's a simple tale told well, following a group of alien soldiers on the trail of another fugitive alien who has crash landed on a barren wasteland of a planet.

Using minimal background CG effects, the arid locations are remarkably effective as an alien world, and you can't help but feel sorry for the cast members who had to wear heavy prosthetic makeup as well as heavy costumes in such a hot locale. The costumes and props have been aged nicely and look practical rather than hokey, which helps to suspend disbelief, and the dynamics between characters also help keep your eye on the action rather than the lack of budget or big set pieces.

The whole film is essentially an 80 minute chase sequence, yet it largely manages to maintain the viewer's interest. There are a couple of moments when you kinda wish it would hurry up, but they are in the minority. The film ends up following a similar thread to that of the classic Dennis Quaid/Louis Gossett Jr film ENEMY MINE, with the two main characters forced into an uneasy understanding.

The film is stylistically reminiscent of the original STAR WARS, especially with the soldiers' costumes looking like a cross between Stormtroopers and Boba Fett, but also in terms of cinematography (luxurious wide shots, silhouettes and suchlike). It's not heavy on dialogue, and the ending is rather unsatisfying, but as low budget science fiction goes, this is a mini masterpiece.

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