Wednesday, December 20, 2023

Review: "PREY" is the Best "Predator" Sequel to Date

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 55 of 2023 (No. 1944) by Leroy Douresseaux

Prey (2022)
Running time: 100 minutes (1 hour, 40 minutes)
MPAA – R for strong bloody violence
DIRECTOR: Dan Trachtenberg
WRITERS: Patrick Aison; from a story by Patrick Aison and Dan Trachtenberg (based on the characters created by Jim Thomas and John Thomas)
PRODUCERS: John Davis, Marty Ewing, and Jhane Myers,
EDITORS: Claudia Castello and Angela M. Catanzaro
COMPOSER: Sarah Schachner


Starring:  Amber Midthunder, Dakota Beavers, Dane DiLiegro, Stormee Kipp, Michelle Thrush, Julian Black Antelope, Stefany Mathias, Bennett Taylor, and Mike Paterson

--Prey is by far the best Predator sequel, and it is one of 2022's best films.

--The Canadian landscape where this movie was filmed is an equal character in the story while offering magnificent vistas and breathtaking beauty.

--The first half of the film is a tense suspense thriller that builds a sense of mystery similar to that of the original Predator film.

--The second half of the film is an explosion of brutal violence and heart-stopping duels that leads to a showstopping finale.  I highly-recommend it.

Prey is a 2022 science fiction thriller film directed by Dan Trachtenberg.  It is the fifth film in the main Predator film franchise, which began with the 1987 film, Predator, and the seventh in the overall franchise (when the “AvP” films are counted).  Prey is a prequel to the four main Predator movies, and it is a direct-to-streaming film that was released as a “Hulu original film.”  Prey is set in the early 18th century and pits a young Comanche woman who wants to prove that she is a warrior by taking on a mysterious creature that slaughters everything in its path.

Prey opens in the Northern Great Plains in September 1719Naru (Amber Midthunder), a young Comanche woman, has trained as a healer, but she wants to be a hunter like her older brother, Taabe (Dakota Beavers).  To that end, Naru wants to embark on a “k├╝htaamia,” which requires her to hunt something that is hunting her.

While tracking deer, Naru witnesses strange lights in the sky, which she believes to be a “Thunderbird,” the legendary creature of Native American folklore.  However, the strange lights are actually an alien ship dropping a Predator (Dane DiLiegro), something her people have never encountered.  Now, Naru, Taabe, and their tribe's other hunters must take on a Predator that is the ultimate hunter.  If she cannot defeat the Predator, she will lose her life and her tribe will fall as well.

I have been interested in seeing Prey since I first heard about it, but I wasn't subscribing to Hulu when it debuted, nor do I currently subscribe to it.  However, my friend and collaborator, Carter Allen, an illustrator, concept designer, and comic book creator, sent me a copy of the 4K Ultra HD/Blu-ray edition via Amazon.

Now, having seen it, I think it is a shame that Prey did not receive a theatrical release.  It's cinematography captures the beautiful vast forest locations outside Calgary, Alberta, Canada, where this movie was shot, in a way that should be seen on a big screen.  The landscape is an equal character in the film, even more so than it has been in previous Predator films.  Prey's director, Dan Trachtenberg, uses the landscape to make his film feel real and to have weight and depth and not come across as if it were some kind of action or video game fantasy.

Prey is the best sequel to 1987's Predator, easily surpassing what I think is the previous best sequel, 2010's Predators.  In some ways, the combatants in Prey seem more authentic and the action more visceral than in the first film.  The fights are brutal and up-close-and-personal.  Flesh is slashed and chopped into raw meat, and bodies are pierced, penetrated, and ruptured with artistic precision.  Heads are lopped off, and limbs aren't far behind.  The Predator of Prey does not kill from on high, shooting death rays as the original Predator did.  In Prey, the Predator moves in for the kill in a way that is similar to what Logan/Wolverine did to the mercenaries in the X-Men film, X2 (2003).  Also, the costume and creature design for Prey's Predator is as much horror movie killer as it is sci-fi monster. In some ways, he seems garbed as a super-villain.

Amber Midthunder as Naru and Dakota Beavers as Taabe give outstanding performances.  Their characters are well written, and Patrick Aison's script is ambitious enough to give the actors the opportunity to explore their characters, which they do.  Midthunder is mesmerizing and fierce as Naru, and she makes me care about her journey every step of the way.

I'm surprised.  Prey easily exceeded my expectations.  I hope that future Predator films are as ambitious as this one.  In the meantime, I pray for a sequel to Prey.

9 of 10

Wednesday, December 20, 2023

You can buy a copy of the PREY Blu-ray at AMAZON.

Discover Carter Allen's latest graphic novel, Ectyron vs. Des Moines here.

The text is copyright © 2023 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog or site for reprint and syndication rights and fees.



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