You might be thinking ‘Here we go again with another Predator movie that’s going to be all action, fighting and mindless sci-fi gore,’ and you would be completely wrong. Prey is the latest addition to the Predator film franchise and is unlike any other in its history. Unlike previous instalments, the Hulu/Disney+ film is set in the past and depicts how the world’s ancestors faced the extra-terrestrial and terrifying threat.
The Predator and the Alien vs. Predator franchises have mentioned throughout the movies that the Predators are a technically advanced race that travels through space looking for the worthiest prey to hunt and bring them honour and that this pursuit of honour has continued as far back as humanity itself has been there to record it.
Other than glimpses to explain flashbacks we had never seen further back into history, and how the alien predators fared against humans when we did not have guns, and special forces to protect us, until Prey.
The official synopsis of the movie reads: The newest entry in the Predator franchise, 20th Century Studios’ Prey is an all-new action thriller set in the Comanche nation 300 years ago. It is a story of a young woman, Naru, a fierce and highly skilled warrior who has been raised in the shadow of some of the most legendary hunters who roam the great plains. So, when danger threatens her camp, she sets out to protect her people. The Prey she stalks, and ultimately confronts, turns out to be a highly evolved alien predator with a technically advanced arsenal resulting in a vicious and terrifying showdown between the two adversaries.
The movie not only accurately depicts what a battle between a Comanche warrior and the extra-terrestrial Predator would look like, but also what their lives at the time would look like, respectfully depicting their camp and homes, their hierarchy, and the different roles that members of their community take on. Fierce warriors and skilled hunters must face their fears in their fight against this never-before-seen threat.
Produced by Lawrence Gordon Productions and Davis Entertainment Company Productions, Prey is skilfully directed by The Boys and 10 Cloverfield Lane director Dan Trachtenberg and written by the writer of Jack Ryan and Treadstone, Patrick Aison. This film features producers like John Davis from Jungle Cruise and Predator (1987), Predator 2 (1990), Alien vs. Predator (2004), Alien vs. Predator: Requiem (2007), Predators (2010) and The Predator (2018) who is effectively the key producer behind the entire franchise, and Jhane Myers (an acclaimed filmmaker, part of the Sundance Fellowship and a proud member of the Comanche nation herself with an intense passion for honouring the legacies of the Native communities) from Monsters of God. Their executive producers are Lawrence Gordon from Watchmen, Marty Ewing from It: Chapter Two, James E. Thomas, John C. Thomas, and Mark Toberoff.
In short, there’s a load of talent present to masterfully move the pieces.
Of course, Prey also boasts an almost entirely Native and First Nation Cast, with actors and actresses such as Amber Midthunder, who played Naru in the film. The young actress is probably better known for her work in The Ice Road and Roswell, New Mexico. She is also joined by Dakota Beavers, who is a newcomer to the silver screen, Stormee Kipp (Sooyii), Michelle Thrush (from The Journey Home) and Julian Black Antelope (Tribal).
Dane DiLiegro fills in the roster as the Predator for this addition to the franchise and is known for his role in American Horror Stories.
Without beating around the bush too much, Prey is a cinematic masterpiece, showcasing beautiful vistas, a stunning score and a suspenseful and stunning soundtrack courtesy of Sara Schachner.
As mentioned, it is unlike any other film in its franchise. With epic moments of suspense and thrill, quiet waiting and suspenseful chase when the hunter becomes the hunted, it is almost impossible not to get goosebumps listening intently as the main character explores. This movie highlights the perils of the primitive natural world and the hilariousness of primitive weaponry versus an alien with far superior technology.
If you come to a Predator movie for the action, and the gun fights, they are not completely devoid in this instalment of the franchise, but this movie relies on great film techniques and a great story to build its suspense and thrill.
It’s relatively slow-paced compared to other Predator movies but makes up for it with the sheer atmosphere of the movie. And there are even some jump scares thrown in for those who would otherwise miss it.
The film also shares some beautiful moments depicting the beauty of nature itself. As the hunters become the hunted, it depicts the very natural circle of life.
A bit of a coming-of-age story for our main character, Naru (Amber Midthunder does a terrific job), this instalment of the Predator franchise is a wonderful addition to the already sprawling lore that makes up the franchise. While it doesn’t at all watch like a typical Predator movie, fans should be pleasantly surprised.
But more than all this, Prey is a film dedicated to Juanita Pahdopony (renowned Comanche educator, poet and artist) and The Comanche Nation. The film does a great job of honouring the Indigenous people, while also serving as a great slice of entertainment.
Prey is definitely one of the best films in the franchise so far.