FRYEAN MYTHOS: *drama*
CAMPBELLIAN FUNCTION: *psychololgical*
Though plodding and overlong, writer-director Sandy Collora's HUNTER PREY is a moderately interesting attempt to do something akin to a science-fictional version of SLEUTH.
Like the 1972 film of the Anthony Shaffer play, PREY is essentially a two-character story even though a few other characters figure tangentially into the action. On a bleak desert planet, a group of alien commandos (in Boba Fett-looking armor) crashland with their prisoner, Orin Jericho, the last living Earthman. Jericho, who reviles the aliens for having killed off his people, escapes and picks off his opponents until squaring off with the one survivor, his opponent Centauri 7. Centauri 7 and Jericho fight, but when Jericho loses, he taunts Centauri with the hint that even in death his people will be able to avenge themselves upon Centauri's people.
Following that revelation, the story then becomes a waiting-game rather than the usual thriller or action-adventure. Can Jericho escape, and if he does so, does he possess some means of initiating Earth's vengeance? Can Centauri thwart him, or does he feel guilty for his people's crimes of genocide?
Though PREY held my attention reasonably well, and looks great for its limitations (shot in 17 days in the Mexican desert), I can't help feeling that Collora's execution of this "duel of wits" is a little bland. I wouldn't necessarily advocate something as fervid as the TWILIGHT ZONE's more over-the-top dramatics, but Jericho and Centauri don't exist beyond being representatives of their respective races, resulting in a rather flat schematic feel to the film.
On a minor note, the only actor in the film has much of a rep is BUCK ROGERS star Erin Grey, who provides only the voice of Centauri's computer, functioning largely just to give the alien someone besides Jericho with whom to talk.