Predator Dark Ages
The cast do a lot with a little time and are uniformly impressive, especially Adrian Bouchet.
Events near the end may leave you puzzled.
Predator Dark Ages is a crowd funded fan film and is a brilliant example of an idea so ingenious it’s a little perplexing that it hasn’t actually already been done.
Taking the iconic alien hunter and placing it in a completely different context to that seen in any of the films to date, the past, 12th century England (the time of the setting isn’t stated this is just an educated guess). It’s already been established that the Predators have been hunting on Earth for hundreds if not thousands of years, as indicated in Predator 2 when Danny Glover’s Harrigan is handed an 18th century pistol by a Predator elder as a reward for defeating one of their hunters.
Adrian Bouchet is Thomas one of the Knights Templar and the leader of a war party called on by the church to slay a fearsome beast that has been terrorising the countryside, along with his party Thomas is joined by Sied (Amed Hashimi) a Saracen who has witnessed the beast they are hunting in Jerusalem.
Considering the distinctly limited funds they had to work with writer/director James Bushe and DP Simon Rowling have crafted a rather impressive short film which in essence blends elements from Ridley Scott’s Kingdom Of Heaven with the tone of Christopher Smith’s Black Death . Despite the limited running time meaning there’s little chance for deep characterisation Bouchet is excellent as the weary Templar and his war party have a convincing camaraderie, a prime example being when Brother Joseph (Bryan Hands) comments that this is no place for a woman upon seeing the steely eyed Freya (Sabine Crossen) the scout of the party Damien ( Ben Lloyd-Holmes) comments “You hear that, he mistook you for a woman”. The conflict between Bouchet and Hashimi is another aspect that’s well handled, Saracen’s and the Knights Templar are mortal enemies due to the crusades and the animosity between them is another nicely handled shade of characterisation.
As well making excellent use of the location with some impressive sweeping shots and good use of framing Bushe clearly knows that the key thing is atmosphere with a creeping sense of dread mounting as the war party discover that this beast is no myth. The Predator (Phillip Lane) is impressively done too with the various mandatory elements well handled despite the limited resources available.
This could’ve looked like a bunch of LARPers mucking about in the woods for the weekend without a talented crew and cast making everything look far better than you might think for such a shoe string budget. James Bushe and friends have made something which conceptually is far more interesting than Predators the last big screen outing for the alien hunter and is well executed.
Predator Dark Ages will be released via their Youtube channel 25 May.