I don’t know about you but I have a low threshold for gore and horror – neverthless I grasped my cinema ticket in both hands and braved an empty theatre to watch Predators yesterday. I wasn’t sure that my Ben & Jerry’s would provide much comfort but I stuck through the trailers for horror movies I have no intention of putting myself through and I’m glad to say that the film was indeed worthy of this ferocious, multi-jawed, green-blooded hunter.
In twenty years’ time, I wonder if we’ll be talking about remakes and reboots of Avatar and Inception… I was in more than two minds about whether to see Predators before I finally got to see it yesterday. The 1987 original with Arnold Schwarzenegger left quite an impression, when I was at an impressionable age, and I also enjoyed the relocation of the chase to Los Angeles with Danny Glover. It is quite possible that I am the only viewer who didn’t mind Alien battling Predator in an ancient trap-rigged pyramid – although even I didn’t go so far as to see the sequel to that one.
One big surprise with Predators was its lead – Adrien Brody. At least I think it was Adrien Brody… What I saw was a muscular fighting machine with a husky voice, a relentless instinct for survival and a deeply buried sentimental streak. A world away from the Pianist. But what a relief to see Brody liberated in an action movie, not at all as he appeared in King Kong, but holding his own and winning over the soldier women. So, while The Adrien Brody Factor had caused me doubts before, it turned out to be a strong point of the movie.
The film got off to an excellent and exhilerating start as the ‘prey’ awake freefalling into an unidentified jungle. The group gathers – a mix of merceneraries, soldiers, killers and murderers with one exception: a doctor (Topher Grace), without weapons and any means for survival. Shortly afterwards, the rather argumentative group discovers a second dropzone but this is full of cages and disgusting remains of something very definitely not human and very definitely dangerous. And so begins the hunt.
The traps and twists in the tale are entertaining and quite clever. We’ve seen the Predator before and so director Nimrod Antal finds other ways to surprise us and, on a few occasions, shock us. Actually, there were very few shocks and I only had to hide my eyes on a couple of occasions. There is a twist but I did see it coming – I’d be surprised if anyone didn’t. But apart from the game of trying to work out which member of the ‘team’ will be wiped out first, and how, there are some fine set scenes as hunter and prey come together. Several of the actors get their time in the hunter’s spotlight.
There is predictability – as with the preceding two Predator movies – but the world in which the prey find themselves in is vividly realised – you can almost feel the humidity on your own skin. What I didn’t get, though, is why the ‘heroes’ don’t get hungry and thirsty?
But if you, like me, approach a film such as this with a certain amount of trepidation (and an empty stomach), have no fear – this is not as scary as it possibly should be. For me, that’s a good thing.
Pictures from IMDb.