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DVD Review: Hunter Prey

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Every once in a while, somebody gets the whole concept of moviemaking right. In this case, the award for “Hey, Good Job, Bud!” goes to Sandy Collora, the man behind Hunter Prey. While the name might not ring a bell to you, Mr. Collora’s achievements have not gone unnoticed: Sandy helped the studios of the late Stan Winston design and sculpt several famous movie monsters, and also helmed the acclaimed DC Universe fan shorts World‘s Finest and Batman: Dead End.

With Hunter Prey, Sandy managed to scrape up a whopping $450k for a budget and jotted down to Mexico to bring us this highly-entertaining story. When an intergalactic prisoner transport crash-lands on a rocky, barren planet, the remaining crew of the good ship Prometheus attempt to intercept a fleeing hostile alien. Eventually, it boils down to two characters: a solider (Damion Poitier) and a fugitive (Clark Bartram).

Basically, that’s the whole story, kids: a couple of dudes playin’ cat and mouse on an alien world. But these dudes pull it off quite well for being little more than stuntmen by profession. And, just to give us Gen-Xers a little something to grin over, Buck Rogers alumni Erin Gray phones in a performance as the voice of Poitier’s computer.

Unlike all of those lackluster Hollywood blockbusters that forsake ingenuity for eye candy, Hunter Prey works because it has a story and its actors — however “unprofessional” they may be — turn in some truly fine performances. Collora manages to use his money wisely, creating a visually-impressive epic feel for something that was made for next to nothing. The score and soundtrack are also remarkable considering the film’s budget (of course, it’s amazing what we can do with a few simple music/effects programs these days).

Another reason it works is because they filmed in Mexico. As anyone who’s anyone knows, filming a B-Movie in the land of tequila will only result in it becoming a midnight classic. Why, just look at Robert Rodriguez’ El Mariachi or even Luis Buñuel’s Simon Of The Desert: they were both made on the cheap by foreigners and have become cult favorites. And so, as a message to all of you aspiring filmmakers out there who are looking to manufacture a minor hit, stop going up to Canada and save money by heading to Mexico. Sure, the Mexican Government paid me handsomely to say that, but I really sincerely honestly mean it!

But, seriously: Hunter Prey is a true minimalistic feat. It may be a bit reminiscent of Enemy Mine or an episode or two of The Twilight Zone for some people in a few places (and some of those space uniforms might be a little too Star Wars-esque), but it still manages to grip to big-budget and low-budget sci-fi lovers alike.

Hunter Prey makes a welcomed debut to DVD via the folks at Maya Entertainment in a 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen presentation with a 5.1 Dolby Digital soundtrack and a 2-Channel audio mix. Accompanying the feature film is an audio commentary by Sandy Collora and a half-hour long “making-of” featurette with the movie’s cast and crew. Both of the special features are complimentary to this fun little film; giving viewers a lot of insight to a motion picture that is sure to become a landmark in the annals of low-budget movie history.

Highly recommended.

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About Luigi Bastardo

Luigi Bastardo is the disgruntled alter-ego of a thirtysomething lad from Northern California who has watched so many weird movies since the tender age of 3 that a conventional life is out of the question. He currently lives in Chico, CA with four cats named Groucho, Harpo, Chico, and Margaret. Seriously.