In 1719 a tribe of Comanche people are living on the Great Plains. Little do they know something is out there looking to hunt everything in its path.
Director: Dan Trachtenberg
Cast: Amber Midthunder, Dakota Beavers, Dane DiLiegro, Michelle Thrush, Stormee Kipp
MPAA Rating: R for strong bloody violence.
Run Time: 1hr 39min
Fun Fact: Dane DiLiegro who was the Predator in this film, performed all stunts. No stunt double was used.
Predator is a great example of why we go to movies and why we enjoy them. It’s blend of science fiction, action and horror has something for everyone. Since that film was a huge and iconic success, it was only natural that it would be a franchise. Sequels and crossovers have been hit and miss and for awhile I had forgotten about the franchise in general. Now that Disney has the rights to the franchise through their purchase of FOX related material, I had assumed that the franchise would be done after the release of The Predator.
Enter Prey, a film that I didn’t hear anything about until the release of it a couple of weeks ago. After using the word predator in many different ways over the years, it would only make sense that a different word like prey would be used to differentiate the films. I’m also surprised that this film did not get some sort of theatrical release and was straight to streaming. Predator has a decent sized fan base so making a profit wouldn’t be hard to do. Then again streaming HULU is more widespread when most people can’t make it to the theater, so the audience is there anyways.
Prey is a much-needed refresh on this franchise. How many movies do we need to see commandos with giant guns get taken out over and over again? Don’t get me wrong that is a reason I go and watch a Predator film but give me something a little different. The film takes place in 1719 with the Comanche people living on the Great Plains. Technology is definitely not up to todays standards and guns are muzzle loaders. With an advanced species like the Predator, it is going to take much more skill and problem solving to defeat it. While the film takes the best elements from the franchise, director Dan Trachtenberg clearly has an admiration for the franchise and doesn’t try and be a carbon copy of those films that had come before this one. Some of the best scenes of this film when the music just plays and there is no talking. To me when those moments happened it made the film more powerful and emotional. It his me a different way that’s for sure. We also get some great moments of suspense and tension that even had me at the edge of my seat. While the film doesn’t rely on jump scares (thankfully) we get moments that deliver nice payoffs.
Amber Midthunder portrays Naru. She wants to prove to her tribe that there is more to her then just the typical roles that others have in the tribe. Constantly over shadowed by her brother (Dakota Beavers) she sets out to prove herself through a hunt. Midthunder does a great job in the role, and she has to carry the film through a good chunk of it. Naru has to use her surroundings and quite a bit of knowledge to succeed. As the film went on, I was getting more into her character and wanted her to succeed. A minor gripe I had with it though is I wish there was a tad bit more scenes that had her with her brother in it. I wanted to explore more about their history and how they even kind of developed a little rivalry between both of them. Dakota Beavers also did a fine job as well and just wish we got to see a bit more of him.
Visually this film is gorgeous to look at. The scenery is picturesque, and the camera work makes it even more beautiful. There is a scene with a wooded area that has been burned down and full of ash that looks amazing. Even the shots at night are well focused and lit where it isn’t too dark where you can’t see anything. The CGI is also well done and doesn’t look like certain things are not there. Even the Predator has a refresh done to it. I loved the skull helmet that he was wearing and even with the helmet off we get a different looking face that I felt worked. This is a prequel after all so the creature could evolve over time which brings another unique aspect to the film.
Overall, go stream Prey if you have HULU. It is a much-needed refresh to the franchise. There are great moments of tension and action that has a bit of everything for everyone. It also honors the best moments of the franchise while being its own film as well. The film looks gorgeous, and the cinematography brings it to life even more. Amber Midthunder has quite a bit to carry, and she pulls it off not by just her words but her actions as well. The Predator has some new updates that make it stand out as well and this is hands down a worthy entry to the Predator franchise. Instead of doing the usual reboot of a franchise, I think taking something like the predator and putting it in different time eras would make even more interesting films like this one. Why not have the next one be based in Medieval or ancient times?