Friday, August 5, 2022

Prey (2022)

Streaming Service: Hulu
Movie Name/Year: Prey (2022)
Genre: Action, Drama, Horror
Length: 1h 39min
Rating: R
Production/Distribution: 20th Century Studios, Davis Entertainment, Disney+, Hulu
Director: Dan Trachtenberg
Writer:  Patrick Aison, Dan Trachtenberg, Jim Thomas, John Thomas
Actors: Amber Midthunder, Dakota Beavers, Dane DiLiegro, Stormee Kipp, Michelle Thrush, Julian Black Antelope, Stefany Mathias, Bennett Taylor, Mike Paterson, Tymon Carter, Skye Pelletier, Harlan Blayne Kytwayhat, Corvin Mack, Samuel Marty
Blurb from IMDb: The origin story of the Predator in the world of the Comanche Nation 300 years ago. Naru, a skilled female warrior, fights to protect her tribe against one of the first highly-evolved Predators to land on Earth.

Selina’s Point of View:
I like the Predator (1987) series. Maybe for a different reason than most, though.
The first Predator (1987) was a good movie, but very ‘of its time.’ I’m not saying it doesn’t hold up, because it does, but it’s just very much an 80s film. It had the same campy tone as most of the action films that were put out in that decade – and the 80s/early 90s feel just got amped up in Predator 2 (1990). Anyone who watches either flick is going to know exactly when it was made.
I believe that, alone, the movie might have had a following, but it wouldn’t have remained this big if they’d have stuck to a normal sequel setting.
Predator 2 was not as beloved as the original. Taking the antagonist to the city is not what I mean. I mean that they turned the series into a kind of anthology. The big bad remains the central theme, while the settings and protagonists change from movie to movie. It allows us to get close to the story, without putting all our connection into a single set of protagonists. It’s an expansion of the world/universe, instead of a deeper examination of one story.
Not only does that keep us invested, but it makes pulling in new viewers easier. You don’t need to see any of the films that came before Prey to get just as deeply involved as someone who’s been watching the story unfold for the past 35 years.
I believe that’s why the Predator series has as much staying power as it does – and why it will continue well into the future.
This is also the exact reason why I 100% support utilizing newer voices for the direction and writing of Predator sequels – like Prey.
Director Dan Trachtenberg (10 Cloverfield Lane, The Boys, Black Mirror) has done a few episodes of random TV shows (and one full-length feature), while Patrick Aison (Treadstone, Kingdom, Wayward Pines) has similar credits to his name. Neither of them are big enough to have any kind of hardcore following yet. As a result, no one could have possibly known what to expect from them. This may not be an anthology film, but as an anthology series – I think it has the exact same kind of benefit.

Going into Prey all we knew was that there would be a Predator antagonist, and that it was a prequel. Trachtenberg and Aison took those facts and built up a film that absolutely crushed any expectations anyone could have had. They may not have had a hardcore following before this, but that’s definitely changed. Anytime I see either name in the credits of future films, it’s going to increase my excitement ten-fold.
I’m not afraid to say that Prey is the best film in the series. Including the first.
In fact, I couldn’t point out a flaw if I tried. The story was on point. The setting felt right. The sound design was just as iconic as ever. Even the characters had a depth to them that those in the other films lacked.
I can’t even say enough about the acting.
Amber Midthunder (Hell or High Water, Legion, The Ice Road) is new to me, but she has got some serious talent. Whether her character was fighting the Predator or interacting with her tribe, I believed every second of her performance. Her name is going to stick out in my mind, and I will be looking for her in the future. I think I’ll even look up her past performances.
Equally, Dakota Beavers felt just as perfect for his part. They all did, but Midthunder and Beavers stood out the most.
If you haven’t seen Prey, you need to. Especially if you’re a fan of the series, but even if you’re not.
As of right now, Prey’s my favorite movie of the year.

Cat’s Point of View:
The original Predator (1987) was a great blend of action, sci-fi, and monster movie genres. It holds a special place in my heart as one of the first few R-rated movies I watched as a kid. The sequels that followed didn’t really catch the same vibe as the original. They were fine but just didn’t share the same spark of the original film.
Prey was a game changer for the franchise. I felt a similar thrill to the original Predator with this new prequel.
I understand there was talk about Prey retconning the events from the Alien vs. Predator (2004) crossover movie. Aside from having a bad-ass female lead, that production really didn’t have a lot going for it anyway.
The cinematography for Prey was stunning. I loved the natural settings used as both elements of the story and backdrop.

I also appreciated that the production team did a great job of casting an appropriately diverse cast with actors of indigenous heritage for the primary roles. I was actually shocked to learn that this was Dakota Beavers' feature film debut. He apparently has an extensive background in performing in a musical setting, so I’m sure that helped a lot with the transition. I couldn’t tell that this was his first big gig. Hats off to him on that. I would be remiss if I didn’t also mention Amber Midthunder. Her role in Prey was so physical and she aced it like a true warrior. I loved that her character was intelligent and resourceful as well as strong-willed. She was exactly what the story needed, and she delivered.
If I had to pick one thing that bothered me a little about Prey, I would have to scramble to come up with something. Perhaps it would have been cool to have English subtitle translations for the indigenous speech and the small amount of French dialogue in the movie, but honestly, that’s splitting hairs. You didn’t need to know a literal translation to understand perfectly what was going on. It’s a mark of skillful storytelling of the production team as a whole – cast and crew – that everything made sense.
All told, if you don’t already have Hulu, or the Disney+ bundle that includes it, Prey is absolutely worth the subscription for this exclusively streaming release. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Prey to fans of the franchise – or even those who might want to try it for the first time.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 92%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 83%
Metascore – 70%
Metacritic User Score – 6.3
IMDB Score –7.2/10
Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating 5/5
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating 5/5
Movie Trailer:

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