Personally, I love the idea of blending different genres in with each other. Zombies and westerns, horror and WW II flicks, science-fiction and western, thriller and fantasy, I love it! It's probably because it's one of the few remaining ways you can truly be creative and original with something nowadays. There also are no boundaries or limitations to what you can do, since you're basically exploring new territories with your movie and you can let your own fantasy run free as a writer and director. "Predator Dark Ages" also is such a movie, that places the well known Predator character into a medieval setting and age.

"Predator Dark Ages" is a short fan film but don't let that scare you off. It's made with lots of skill and professionalism and yes, of course it's also way better than any of the Alien vs. Predator movies. That's not much of a compliment of course so let me praise it other ways instead; The movie is a genuinely good looking one and I don't mean good looking for an amateur movie, I mean good looking for a movie in general. Sound, sets, costumes, camera-work, the special effects, it's all topnotch.

The story itself; Well, you know, there only is so much you can do with the concept of having an alien predator hunting down people, especially when your movie only is 25 minutes short. It does some good things with its story but at the same time the story also feels somewhat lazy at times. With this I mean that some things happen too conveniently and the movie also tries to mimic some scenes from the original 1987 "Predator" movie once or twice too often. This actually is the same thing one of the Alien vs. Predator movies, "AVPR: Aliens vs Predator - Requiem", did wrong. It tried to be exactly like an Alien and Predator by mimicking scenes, instead of coming up with anything original. Luckily this movie does still have plenty of originality to offer as well but I still do feel that it could have tried a bit harder at parts.

The thing I liked about the story is how it successfully managed to create a good atmosphere and introduce you to its characters, in just a very short amount of time. Without saying or explaining too much to you, you feel like you know the characters and get what they are all about, sometimes only based on how they look or on how they handle certain situations.

Still, the buildup feels a bit lacking at times. I mean, this really is far from the most tense movies that I have ever seen, despite featuring the right type of concept for it. It's mostly due to the running time of the movie. When you only have 25 minutes to tell a story with you have to rush through things at times and skip certain elements, I get that but still, it definitely can be done. For instance; wouldn't it have been better if the movie revealed its Predator much later into the movie? That way it could have worked longer and more effectively on its suspense and mystery, instead of getting right into the action? Just thinking out loud here.

That brings me to another 'problem' I had with this movie; The Predator isn't really always behaving like a true Predator in my opinion (Like I'm actually an expert on Predators). It's almost as if he wants to be seen and wants to give his opponent a change at catching and killing him. Also his mask...out of all of the things that are in the movie, the mask is the only thing that's somewhat fake looking. It maybe sounds nitpicky but sometimes you can only get nitpicky with a short that otherwise does most things right and is a very good and entertaining one to watch, all throughout.

And now that we are nitpicking: The acting is very good and so is most of the dialog but I have to say that i at times felt disappointed with the reactions by the actors at times. They don't really ever seem scared, surprised or shocked when the Predator starts to appear and kill their friends. You could say that this is because they are tough and very manly (even the girl character is very manly like) knights but in the original "Predator" movie even the hardest, toughest and most manly commandos freaked out when the Predator appeared, so that can't be an excuse.

But really, all criticism aside, I applaud this movie for being as good as it is. It truly is a wonderful accomplishment by everyone involved. It maybe isn't always the most effective or most original movie you could watch, it's still a very creative one as well at the same time, that successfully brings an already well known movie villain into a new world and time period.


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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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