Dan Trachtenberg’s Prey (2022) Proves to Be a Worthy Successor to the Previous Predator Films

10 mins read
Naru (Amber Midthunder) hiding from the Predator in the 2022 sci-fi horror film Prey
Naru (Amber Midthunder) hiding from the Predator in the 2022 sci-fi horror film Prey

Image source: Hulu

Prey is the latest Hollywood remake/reboot film and continues the extraterrestrial hunter’s story that debuted in the late 1980s.

Rather than continue the chaos left in its wake by the 2018 film Predators, Prey director Dan Trachtenberg decided to start over and bring audiences back to one of the Predator’s earliest hunts.

Warning: spoilers ahead

Film synopsis

“A skilled Comanche warrior protects her tribe from a highly evolved alien predator that hunts humans for sport, fighting against wilderness, dangerous colonizers, and this dangerous creature to keep her people safe.”

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Plot

Prey introduces viewers to a time before machine guns became our first line of defense against mass horror.

In 1719, we meet Amber Midthunder’s Naru, a Comanche woman yearning to prove herself as a warrior.

Naru witnesses the Predator’s arrival and takes it as a sign that she is ready to undergo the ritual to cement her warrior status.

When one of them goes missing, Naru goes with her brother Taabe to track down one of their hunters.

While tracking down their fellow tribesmen, Naru is the only person to notice the unusual spurs and skinned rattlesnake, the remnants of the Predator’s hunt for a worthy opponent.

Naru helps Taabe hunt down the cougar that injured their hunter.

Naru weakens the wildcat before being knocked out after witnessing a burst of light from afar.

Back in the village, Taabe takes the glory and the title of the chieftain, leading Naru to hunt down the greatest threat to the tribe.

Accompanied by her dog Sarii, Naru stumbles upon a field full of skinned bison.

On the journey, she is attacked by a grizzly bear, who corners her in a beaver dam before witnessing the threat and power of the Predator.

Naru narrowly escapes before encountering members of her tribe who have been sent to find her.

They take them by force before meeting the Predator. But again, Naru escaped before being captured by the French colonizers.

They use her and a captured Taabe as bait to lure the Predator, which quickly finishes off the French colonizers.

Naru returns to their camp and helps an injured Raphael Adolini, by giving him herbs that reduce his body heat and make him invisible to the Predator.

One misstep causes him to scream in pain and get killed, but Naru now knows how to get the upper hand against her enemy.

Taabe arrives on horseback to save his sister and, at the same time, weaken the Predator.

However, the alien manages to kill Taabe.

Naru takes Adolini’s rifle, captures one of the French and uses him as bait for the Predator.

The Predator falls for the decoy and uses the herb to sneak behind it and shoot it in the head, disabling his helmet.

She pulls the Predator into a swamp and uses his helmet’s projectile weapons against it.

Dying from his injuries, Naru decapitates the Predator, paints her face with its blood, and takes his head and Adolini’s gun with him.

Returning to the tribe, she is praised for her victory and becomes the new War Chief.

As the credits set in, a cave painting shows three Predator ships emerging from the sky. 

The cast

  • Amber Midthunder as Naru
  • Dakota Beavers as Taabe
  • Dane DiLiegro in the role of the Predator
  • Stormee Kipp as Wasape
  • Bennett Taylor as Raphael Adolini
  • Michelle Thrush as Aruka
  • Julian Black Antelope as Chief Kehetu

Review

One of the best sequels for the (small) screen, Prey combines modern technology with a nostalgic formula.

At a time when movies relied primarily on the green screen to tell a story, this Predator sequel takes viewers back to the franchise’s beginnings: the outdoors.

The story works perfectly and shows the Predator before it became one of the best hunters chasing down Arnold Schwarzenegger, Danny Glover and Adrien Brody in its game.

Although not as technologically advanced as previous films, the Predator flaunts everything that made it a sci-fi icon – the invisibility cloak, projectile weapons (which replace the cannons with mini darts) and the retractable blade.

The Predator’s helmet is also different, using a skull-like design that fits the era perfectly.

Prey didn’t have to rely heavily on CGI effects for its monster (apart from the invisible cloak scenes) and kept things practical as with previous films.

Dane DiLiegro has done a spectacular job that genuinely honors the legacy of the late Kevin Peter Hall, the original Predator.

Along with the fantastic detailing of the Predator look, the production team’s efforts to portray the Comanche tribe during the film’s era deserve praise for its accurate clothes, village setting, and hunting lifestyle.

Amber Midthunder’s performance is also not to be missed.

Midthunder might be a new name to most, but she’s been in Hollywood for over two decades.

While online critics would be quick to point to Naru’s characterization as another “Mary Sue,” they most likely based their judgment on the trailer alone.

Throughout the film, Midthunder’s Naru showed intelligence in grasping her enemy’s strengths and weaknesses (noting the shield use and vision).

Rather than being “the last girl,” she displays the same spirit as beloved characters like Sigourney Weaver’s Ellen Ripley and Linda Hamilton’s Sarah Connor.

Despite the short run time, director Dan Trachtenberg managed his time wisely by enriching Amber Midthunder’s Naru’s backstory and the Predator’s for its match.

Trachtenberg has found the right balance to give viewers enough story to cheer on Naru while also building the Predator’s final appearance, a task often considered impossible and usually leaves a pretty mess.

Prey also did well to appeal to general and Comanche audiences, shooting the film in both English and Comanche.

Overall, Prey managed to hit all the right notes.

Read also: A Look Into Some of the Most Important Films in Amber Heard’s Career

Links to previous films

Prey offers something fresh and familiar, which is why he has received positive words worldwide.

Here we look at what Prey connects to other Indie Predator films, their parallels, and how they relate.

Predator (1987)

The father of the franchise, Predator, is beloved for his storyline and features a group of seasoned veterans against an unknown foe.

Predator and Prey share the same natural setting, so fans were excited to see how the final product would play out, especially without the weapons Schwarzenegger had.

However, people tend to forget that even Schwarzenegger’s character gave up bullets to take on the Predator with his mind – the same way Midthunder’s Naru dispatched her foe.

Dakota Beavers Taabe also repeats the iconic line: “If it bleeds, we can kill it.”

Predator 2 (1990)

Predator 2, the often overlooked sequel, is the movie that ties directly into Prey as the elder Predator throws Mike Harrigan (Danny Glover) the same gun that Naru took.

The gun might hint that a sequel might be in the works, and the reception only reinforces that sentiment.

Predators (2010)

The 2010 action movie was the first to feature the different types of predators. Prey continues this trend by sporting a Predator design initially used for the 1987 film and later used in the 2010 sequel.

It is possible that the helmet used here came from the same creature that attacked Adrien Brody in the film.

The Predator (2018)

Prey’s predecessor is the only film that has nothing to do with it.


Opinions expressed by Portland News contributors are their own.

Jamal Murphy

Hi, I'm Jamal. I am a traveler and food vlogger. I am currently working as a media specialist in a media firm and I also love writing and reading.

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