Predator was the first installment in the Predator franchise. It was directed by John McTiernan and was released in 1987, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger as the leader of a paramilitary rescue team who encountered a deadly technologically advanced alien warrior in a Central American rainforest. The warrior, known as the “Yautja,” stalked the soldiers in order to take them as trophies. Initial reviews of the film were mixed, but it has since been considered a classic of the science fiction genre. Predator was followed by three sequels: Predator 2 (1990), Predators (2010), and The Predator (2018).
Because the Predator franchise has been so successful, it makes sense that Hollywood would seek to make a prequel, and Prey was released in 2022.
The narrative begins about 200 years earlier than the original films, and it centers around the adventures of Naru, a young, rebellious Comanche woman who has trained as a healer, but dreams of becoming a great hunter like her brother. During a series of adventures Naru witnesses an alien spacecraft, fights with the tribe’s hunters to kill a man-eating cougar, thwarts the attack of a grizzly bear, escapes from some nasty French buffalo hunters, and helps to bring about the demise of the Predator alien. This is an epic film that should have been shown in movie theaters but wasn’t.
It also contains an absolutely brilliant performance from Amber Midthunder, a Native New Mexican actress who made her acting debut at the age of nine opposite Oscar winner Alan Arkin in the indie hit Sunshine Cleaning. In 2012 she and her father, David Midthunder, appeared in the television series Longmire as Lilly Stillwater and David Ridges, respectively. In 2021, she appeared in The Marksman and The Ice Road, two back-to-back movies starring Liam Neeson. She is a member of the Fort Peck Assiniboine and Sioux tribes and is an enrolled tribal member at the Ft. Peck Reservation in Montana.
Filming of Prey took place near Calgary, Alberta, primarily in Stoney Nakoda Nation land 45 miles outside the city. It is well shot, suspenseful, action-packed, atmospheric and very frightening, with wonderful supporting turns from Dakota Beavers, Michelle Thrush and Stormee Kipp.
It also features the most adorable dog in Hollywood history. Sarii, Naru’s dog companion, is played by Coco, a Carolina dog trained specifically for the film. The breed is a medium-sized dog occasionally found feral in Southeastern US and now has breed recognition.
It is interesting that 20th Century Fox, in a remarkably progressive move, has created an Apache dub of the movie. The film is also important because Indigenous women almost never get to lead American science fiction movies.
It is directed by Dan Trachtenberg, the very talented man behind the terrific 10 Cloverfield Lane. He expertly directs this very worthy addition to a franchise that has captivated audiences since the Regan Era, and it is a crying shame that he has so far only directed two films. He absolutely deserves to be given more work in the motion picture industry.
This is a very good movie. Watch it immediately and you will not be disappointed. It puts a brand-new spin on a much-recycled concept that needed new blood. It is currently showing on Disney Plus.
Two very extremely enthusiastic thumbs up.