Prey: important information
– Fifth Predator film in the sci-fi action horror franchise
– Set nearly 300 years before the 1987 Predator movie
– Directed by Dan Trachtenberg (10 Cloverfield Lane)
– Written by Patrick Aison (Jack Ryan by Tom Clancy)
– Stars Amber Midthunder as Naru, a Comanche warrior
– Launching on Hulu in the US and Disney Plus in other territories
The 80s were a watershed for the science fiction genre. Hugely popular movie series such as Alien and Terminator were created during this period, and while those franchises have struggled to remain relevant in the modern era, the duo delivered sequels – Aliens and Terminator 2 – that were arguably superior to their predecessors. their predecessors.
The Predator franchise cannot claim the same. The first film in the series created by Jim and John Thomas – the 1987 film starring Arnold Schwarzenegger – may have wowed audiences with its suspenseful moments, strong and simple characterization, and over-the-top scenes upon initial release. Several sequels, however, failed to provide a worthy continuation of the testosterone-fueled sci-fi action original, diminishing the Predator film series in the eyes of many.
So the arrival of a new Predator movie – Prey – is sure to be met with equal parts intrigue and apprehension. Is another Predator movie really necessary, and if so, is it worth watching?
The answer to these questions is a resounding yes. Prey is a gripping, gruesome and deeply resonant film that finally awakens the dormant Predator franchise from its decades-long slumber. It doesn’t reinvent the series’ narrative formula, but, armed with a captivating lead actor, audience-pleasing moments, and its authentic portrayal of Native American traditions and cultures, Prey is the best Predator film since the original.
the hunt begins
Set in 1719, Prey stars Amber Midthunder (The Ice Road, Legion) as Naru, a member of a tribe in the Comanche Nation who wants to be taken seriously as a skilled and fierce warrior.
Determined to prove her worth, Naru sets out in search of an unidentifiable creature that lives in the Northern Great Plains, a sprawling swath of land that spans Canada and the US. However, Naru soon discovers that the prey she’s been chasing is a bloodthirsty extraterrestrial, armed with all manner of advanced weaponry, who hunts for sport and glory – and has Naru, his Comanche brothers and other inhabitants of the Great Plain in his wake. aim. Cue Naru fighting for her survival amidst the countless obstacles placed in her path – Predator included – in a coming-of-age themed tale.
Narratively, then, Prey doesn’t deviate from the tried-and-true plot formula of the Predator series – namely, a Predator arrives on Earth to hunt down humans who, while unarmed and initially outmatched, eventually manage to defeat the warrior Yautja.
As basic as this plan sounds in 2022, though, the simplicity of Prey’s story is what makes it effective. His storyline is concise and cohesive in its approach; The irrelevant story precedes to tell a story that focuses primarily on its two protagonists – Midthunder’s Naru and the titular Predator, played by basketball player-turned-actor Dane DiLiegro (American Horror Story) – and their respective character arcs.
For DiLiegro’s Predator, that means presenting an ever-imminent and menacing threat to Naru and company. On the other hand, Naru’s journey from a daring but naive would-be warrior to a full-fledged, inventive fighter is the classic “hero’s journey” arc that is typical of these films.
Thanks to the brevity of its plot as well, Prey drops an incredibly odd quirk to the Predator franchise – namely, the quartet of films before Prey, all running at 107 minutes. With its comparatively animated runtime of 97 minutes, Prey progresses nimbly through its tight narrative, finding a satisfying balance between its calmer, tender moments and those of the action-packed, suspenseful variety. It even dispenses an obvious horror trope that, when you realize what it is, you’ll be grateful for its exclusion.
That’s not to say Prey’s story is perfect. Viewers expecting a subversive or entirely original plot may be disappointed that Prey is a retread of what came before, even though it’s a story set in a different time and place. There’s even a scene involving different creatures preying on each other – for a movie called Prey, starring a creature called the Predator, it’s unabashedly but eye-popping.
The Predator’s delayed reveal – we don’t get a proper look at it halfway through the movie – is also a little frustrating. Of course, given the Predator’s updated look (more on that later), director Dan Trechtenberg and screenwriter Patrick Aison likely wanted his reveal to be a significantly impactful moment in the film. However, fans of the franchise already know what the Predators look like and act like, so holding off on that reveal until the second half of the movie feels like a small misstep.
Some of the film’s English dialogue is also contextually dubious. Some of these cases are down to the story-heavy beats of Prey’s occasional exposure, which seem unnecessary for a film as uncomplicated as this one. Still, with Prey also fully available in Comanche – historically the first Hollywood film to do so – this particular sore point might not be as noticeable in its alternate dubbed format.
Honoring the past to deliver a better future
The inclusion of Comanche language is also not a symbolic gesture on Prey’s part.
The entire film captures Comanche traditions and cultures in incredibly authentic detail, while the casting of a Native American actor in Midthunder as the protagonist is testament to Prey’s faithful representation of the Comanche community.
In fact, the decision to almost exclusively hire Native American and First Nations talent in front of and behind the screen is testament to the filmmakers’ desire to faithfully represent indigenous peoples and their way of life. From indigenous actors including Dakota Beavers and Stormee Kipp, to Comanche consultant Juanita Pahdopony and executive producer Jhane Myers, Prey makes every effort to reproduce Comanche society on screen as truthfully as possible.
In an industry that has done little to provide genuine equality for Native Americans — they are routinely portrayed as brutal, primitive barbarians in Hollywood productions — Prey seems like a genuinely significant step in the right direction.
Given the scope of his expansive landscape shots and Naru’s bespoke journey, parallels are sure to be drawn with the film The Revenant starring Leonardo DiCaprio. Although, Prey seems to do a job more capable of accurately portraying Comanche society and heritage than The Revenant’s illustration of Pawnee and Arikaran Nations.
That care and attention also extends to the history of the Predator franchise. As Prey is set nearly 300 years before the events of the 1987 original, the alien species isn’t as technologically advanced in Prey as in other entries. There’s no plasma cannon here – something so violently fun replaces it – nor does it come equipped with the iconic helmet the Predators are known for.
In fact, Prey’s version of Predator is fiercer and more gladiatorial compared to previous iterations, but calling him primitive would be a disservice. The Yautja version of Prey even comes equipped with a potent arsenal of weapons, classic facial features and those iconic noises that Predator fans will instantly recognize. With a self-appointed predator fanatic in Trachtenberg at the helm, it was clearly important to do justice to Predator projects before this one.
Other tributes are scattered throughout Prey’s narrative, but special mention must be given to the fight sequences. They’re especially worthy homages to what came before, with the final showdown between Naru and the Predator a clear ode to the original film. Without spoiling too much, it’s a sequel that seemingly completes the franchise’s circle; one that is handled with a deft touch, a lot of tension and two feisty warriors slamming each other to satisfying effect. With a few easter eggs scattered throughout, and its ending teasing a potential sequel – or, whisper it under your breath, a new movie series in the franchise itself – too, Predator fans will be pleased with what Prey offers from an action and reference perspective. .
Prey is the most entertaining and suspenseful Predator movie since the franchise’s first entry. Its unique setting in the past, emotional storyline and authentic depiction of indigenous people breathe new life into a series that had been lost, but equally a film that doesn’t lose sight of what came before.
Narratively, this doesn’t change the franchise in a new direction, and some are likely to criticize Prey for playing it too safe or selling out to nostalgic fans who have been deprived of a really good Prey sequel for so long. It’s a shame the film forgoes a theatrical release to be released exclusively on streaming services – Hulu in the US and Disney Plus in the rest of the world – too, as it’s a movie designed to be seen on the big screen.
Given the films that preceded Prey, however, there’s little competition to suggest it isn’t the best Prey movie since Schwarzenegger’s Alan ‘Dutch’ Schaefer begged us to “Get to da choppa.” It’s unapologetically violent, surprisingly poignant, and downright effective. Sometimes that’s all you need from a movie.
The search for a worthwhile Predator sequel is over – and his name is Prey.
The prey is thrown into hulu in the USA, and Disney Plus in territories outside the US on Friday, August 5th.