Hunter Prey opens to a scenario not unlike Pitch Black: a spaceship crashes on an inhospitable world, the survivors include a prisoner, the last of its kind, captured by the army who destroyed its homeworld. The guards quickly realise that the prisoner has escaped and must recapture it.
Comparison with Gareth Edwards' Monsters is also appropriate: this is another indie sci-fi movie with a small cast and crew and ultra-low budget, powered by enthusiasm and goodwill, and shot on location in Mexico. Before making Monsters, Edwards directed a winning Sci-Fi London short; Hunter Prey director Sandy Collora gained a following from an impressive Batman fanfilm. Whereas Monsters relies heavily on subtle CGI, Hunter Prey is more traditional with much more use of costumes, prosthetics, make-up, props and models. Almost everything is on camera.
Hunter Prey takes a scenario that is superficially very simple, and develops it into a more complex plot: there are twists and surprises, a fascinating Sleuth-style cat-and-mouse dynamic between the runaway and his main pursuer, and another interesting relationship between the pursuer and his portable computer. While each alien is almost incomprehensible to the other, there are enough similarities that they are able to goad, challenge and learn from each other, in doing so gradually revealing the galactic events that have brought them together.
There are one or two missteps including a directorial cameo which is undeniably cool but lacks the gravity of the rest of the film, but on the whole this movie is excellent. It's more than just watchable, with characters and conflicts that draw you in. Everything comes together in this film thanks to excellent pre-production. It's not only the script and backstory which are very well thought out, but also the costumes and creatures and the choice of location. Shot on a Red camera against the yellow dunes and deserts of Baja, there's not a single scene in this movie that isn't just beautiful.