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Hunter Prey

Year: 2010
Production Co: NBV productions
Director: Sandy Collara
Producer: Sandy Collara
Writer: Sandy Collara/Nick Damon
Cast: Clark Bartram, Damian Poitier

Many have compared the sentiment in this film to Enemy Mine, and there is indeed a little crossover in the idea of enemies from rival alien races having to settle a very edgy truce to escape from a hostile world.

It looks like a few million dollars on screen – a few tens of millions would undoubtedly have made a better-looking film, but it might not have improved the creative execution. The script and make-up effects are both competent, but little more – Hunter Prey feels like it was directed by a particularly bright 12-year-old movie lover.

All of which makes it sound like I disliked it, but that's not at all the case. We so rarely see arts like in-camera creature effects and a genuine attempt to build a universe of this scale (with only a handful of actors and desert locations, no less) that when something like Hunter Prey comes along, we want it to be better.

When a spacecraft crashes on a hostile world, the bickering solders among the alien crew realise the first order of business is to retake their captive, who's fled in the melee of the crash.

As they fight about who's in charge and whose fault the crash was, their quarry gets further away, and orders from home base are to contain him whatever the cost.

Before long a final survivor from the crew, Centauri 7 (Poitier), emerges from the power plays to pursue the captive, Orin (Bartram). As the two do their best to one-up each other in the inhospitable landscape that threatens everything from thirst to a fearsome bounty hunter, they find a strange kind of peace as they ruminate on the nature of war, survival and extinction.

It sounds a lot cleverer than it comes across on screen, and the eagerness of the actors actually shows up the shortcomings in the rest of the production.

But writer director Collara (from the influential short film Batman: Dead End) does a good job of letting the story unfold as it's own slow pace, keeping you interested enough to keep watching.

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