I have returned, like a six foot Hobbit, to my quiet little village in the Highlands safely and relatively unscathed, if exhausted and penniless, after a voyage to the big city of London where I attended my first Comic-Con. It was the most incredible three days; surrounded by cosplayers, merchandise, artists, food, and weird “squashy loaf of bread” toys from Japan. I was also lucky enough to drop by the world premiere of Predator fan-film “Predator: Dark Ages” followed by a Q&A from the cast & crew. The film has since been made available online, it follows my mini review.
Walking into the Vidzone tent to see an independent fan film I really wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into. My fears were dispelled about 0.3 seconds into the movie however, when it was evident that this is an incredibly slickly produced short. Running just over 25 minutes, the budget of about £13,000 is a bit more than nothing, but it has been very well spent; the quality of this film could easily sit aside professionally produced films that cost many times that amount per minute. The cast have a very impressive collective CV, and it shows. A tightly written script that restrains itself to only a handful of cheeky throwbacks to other entries in the franchise is carried brilliantly by the cast. A slow build pays off with fantastic effects, brutal gore and brilliant fight scenes – everything a fan of the original movie(s) could have hoped for.
The tropes of the two genres have been thrown together perfectly, to the point that it doesn’t feel like a fan film theorising “What would happen if…”, but it feels like a legitimate entry to the franchise, and a bloody good one at that. It doesn’t take liberties with the material, remaining wholly faithful in tone and content, but does give a great insight to the nature of the Predator that I think also fits brilliantly with the franchise as a whole. One question threatened to tear the fim apart, as to why the Predator still has the laser gun & heat tracking technology 1000 years ago, but this was calmly shut down by the director who pointed out that they had this technology 3000 years ago in the Aztec sections of Alien vs. Predator. So there.
I wish I could find something bad to say about this film, but it’s too difficult. All I can say is watch it NOW!