PREY (Dan Trachtenberg) is the newest addition to the PREDATOR franchise. PREY is a prequel set around 300 years prior to the first entry, PREDATOR (John McTiernan), notably featuring Arnold Schwarzenegger in a role now played by Amber Midthunder. The films are also set in the same fictional universe as the ALIEN (Ridley Scott, James Cameron) movies, although the strength of that connection is a rabbit hole of fan analysis.
Teetering on the genres of science fiction and horror, the predator is an extraterrestrial alien, but not much is ever revealed of the species. It’s known that they pride themselves on hunting skills, and visit planets on a universal search for the mightiest opponent, man or beast. Victory is often part of an initiation, or cultural display of their prowess.
PREY closely follows Naru (Amber Midthunder), a young Cherokee woman, and her dog Sarii. Naru is quickly shown to be a capable survivalist, eschewing traditional roles, and instead taking every opportunity to prove herself as a warrior. She even seeks to undertake her own initiation, yet never imagined she’d be hunting the mighty Predator.
Action movies don’t have the best reputation for historical accuracy. Further research was needed to see how realistic the weapons, clothing, medicine, language, or lifestyle were portrayed. It all looks great, and feels like a window to the past. If one is a history buff, the movie should thoroughly satisfy.
In a pleasant surprise, the film is dedicated to the Comanche Nation, and has a largely indigenous cast. Much of what viewers will see was approved by indigenous advisors, and was carefully considered. The Comanche village is very realistic, as is the portrayal of their culture. The majority of the dialogue is in English, but Comanche language is spoken, and for those wanting the most immersive experience, a Comanche language audio setting is available.
The film seems so original and engaging that it’s upsetting to call it a remake, but it often feels like a retelling of the original story. There are scenes that recall the first film, and certain tactics are not unlike those used by Arnold Schwarzenegger’s “Dutch”. These things flow with the story, and would go unnoticed by those unfamiliar with the franchise, but will leave some viewers wondering where the inspiration came from.
The Predator is more often shown from the perspective of those being hunted. The movie surprises with a focus on natural beauty, and there’s lots, often making it more jarring when those moments of tranquility are disrupted by morbidity or hyper violence.
The action stays close to the characters. There are moments that feel like a video game cut scene, and it works really well. The combat is violent and frenetic, as it should be when people are fighting for their lives. The Predator attacks with brutality, and advanced weaponry from its infamous shroud, a signature form of camouflage that renders it invisible.
PREY is a highly recommended film. The story has lots of similarities to the other entries, but utilises them as a solid foundation, and fits the PREDATOR franchise like a glove. Prior knowledge is not needed to enjoy its many offerings, but the rest of the films are readily available if desired. It’s respectful of its historical setting, and doesn’t shy away from showing invaders as more than brutal aliens. PREY is an excellent addition to a very popular film series, and is included on the Disney Plus streaming platform.
PREY is now streaming on Disney+ Star.