Prey (2022)

Prey (2022) Director: Dan Trachtenberg Starring: Amber Midthunder, Dane DiLiegro, Dakota Beavers, Michelle Thrush, Julian Black Antelope, Stormee Kipp .USA. 1h 39m

Generally I never get sucked in by the hype for new movies, after all the hype train is designed to get bums on seats and money in pockets, you’ll be 10 seconds into the movie and realize you’ve been tricked again! touch! I think a lot of hype is blown up by kids who either haven’t seen the “original ” or previous movies who find everything all shiny and new, but these old eyes have seen this all before.. But despite this I went into Prey with an open mind and was ultimately pleasantly surprised but there was a mess to trawl through first.

I personally like my sci fi with Big fucking Guns, Tech and Muscles, espeically when it comes to Predator, but I fully understand how imporant female bad asses are in the genre, and Helen Ripley is and always will be my go to Queen of Sci Fi badasses, but the sway of mysgoney that drives Prey just seemed a bit .. off. I’ve watched a lot of fan made Predator films setting the character off against a backdrop of Medieval Europe and even a Council Estate and some might be aware of the 2019 short movie called Warrior.. What happens to be about a predator stalking a 16th Century group of Native Americans..sounds familiar right? The idea of being hunted and fighting back is universal but we have to buy into the idea what women aren’t very good at fighting for their lives for this to really work, and let hope i’ll get my eyesight back from all the eye rolling I did while trying to digest Prey, a film that calls itself an Origin story despite AVP backdating the genre a few thousand years before this chapter,. it’s a prequel to Predator not an Origin story..

Set 300 years ago in the Comanche nation, the story of a young woman, Naru and her fiercely loyal dog is laid out, she’s a skilled warrior who’s never gained the respect of her tribe simply because she’s a girl. After noticing the Thunderbird in the sky she knows it’s her time to hunt, unfortunately for her, lions and bears aren’t on the rosta and instead she’s going head to head with a technically advanced alien whose life mission is to hunt and kill.

There’s a lot of kudo paid to the previous movies, you’ll hear a few of Arnies lies and a couple of bobby traps will mimic others we’ve seen throughout the 35 years of Predator history, even the head piece is from the River Ghost in the more recent Predators (2010) film. Naru is incredibly brave and fearless as you’d expect for anyone who would want to fight anything as terrifying as a Terminator posses Alien!? While eveything is pretty typical so far, the Alien and his toys are by far the most impressive moments of the film, we have a “new” species without a sholder scope but with lots of torturous devices that both shock and thrill, this more compelling and fresh design crature is way more blood thirsty and psychotic than some of the others.

In essence this is a welcomed and stylishly violent Predator chapter, there’s a touch of comedy, sometimes pretty dark and welcomed to blend in the goofiness and gorgeous landscapes that builds a stage for an epic cerebral showdown. It feels as if Trachtenberg was attempting to reverse the long standing hollywood tropes about Native American craft and mythology, building a more believable cultural setting and allowing them to show intelligence wouldn’t have been done in the past, hollywood would have some shaman preaching about the warrior heart and trying to fight the predator with spells and singing.

Trachtenberg somehow manages to keep the film quite beautiful despite the constant slaughtering that keeps cropping up, and it almost feels like a historical cultural reference? One scene sees a number of Bison skinned in a field, and it resembles the Bison slaughter of the 1800’s. The basic power pistols of the era and there lengthy reloading is a rolling joke throughout the film Naru (Midthunder) and her brother Taabe (Beavers) have a lot of on screen chemistry especially when the highest points of action take over, bouncing around the screen shooting and re shooting arrows on horseback like Legolas and trying to outperform each other.

You bled my brother. So now you bleed. You think that I am not a hunter like you. That I am not a threat. That is what makes me dangerous. You can’t see that I’m killing you. And it won’t either.- Naru

Prey isn’t the Origin story that we still deserve, it’s a prequel thirst trap, it gives us stimulating moments to keep fans wanting more, opening a few minds to the possibilities of the predator universe which is largely only experimental in the fan made shorts. There’s no attempt to deep five into the mythology of the Predator itself and there’s no suggestions that an expansion on that level is imminent. But it does have me wondering just how badass Predator actually is, as this one just got pwned by a girl in leggings.

TLDR

Rating: 6/10

Related: Predator (1987), Predator 2 (1990) AVP (2004), AVP requiem (2007), Warrior (2019), Predators (2010), The Predator (2018)

Lists: Comanche Films

Trailer

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