Prey (2022)
Prey (2022)

Prey: It’s Predator versus the Comanches

Riley Riley

Predator starring Arnold Schwarzenegger is one of the all time great sci-fi action films.

There’s been several sequels to the 1987 blockbuster, one of which even had Predators pitted against the creatures from the Alien franchise in the 2004 Alien vs. Predator.

But until now, none have come close to the original movie in terms of sheer action and excitement.

Enter stage left, Prey, a prequel to the first four films that is set in the Great Plains of North American way back in the year 1719.

It’s a wilderness inhabited by buffalo, Native American Comanches and money-grubbing French fur traders.

Initially known as Skulls, the original idea was to market the film without any reference to Predator, but that all changed when it evolved into the fifth instalment in the series.

Prey is the second film from director Dan Trachtenberg after the well-received 10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)

It stars Amber Midthunder in the lead role as Naru, a young woman desperate to become a warrior like the men of her tribe — instead of a healer.

What she lacks in strength, she makes up for with brains, determination and skill.

When one of the tribe’s hunters is attacked by a mountain lion, Naru’s brother Taabe (Dakota Beavers) allows her to join the search party, but only to help track the lion and provide medical treatment if necessary.

During their search they come across large unusual tracks and a rattlesnake that has been skinned.

Naru circles back with another tribe member Paaka (Corvin Mack) to find Taabe and together the trio set a trap for the mountain lion, but Paaka is killed.

While the Comanches are hunting the lion, however, they themselves are being stalked by a hunter of a different kind — a visiting Predator here for a bit of fun.

Prey has been described by critics as the best Predator installment since the first film.

Development began during production of The Predator (2018), when producer John Davis was approached by Dan Trachtenberg and screenwriter Patrick Aison, with the concept which they had been working on since 2016.

The other big star, although you don’t see his face, is Dane DiLiegro as the Predator, a member of the alien race called the Yautja.

He was chosen for the role because Trachtenberg wanted someone with a more ‘feline’ athletic body.

Other cast members include Dakota Beavers, Michelle ThrushStormee Kipp, Julian Black Antelope and Bennett Taylor.

There’s a bit of controversy over the Predator’s costume because he doesn’t have a shoulder-mounted cannon as in the other films.

Trachtenberg explained that he wanted to avoid this because he thought it would give the Predator too much of an advantage.

The Predator also wears a bone mask instead of a helmet.

After all, the Comanches are armed only with knives, tomahawks, and bows and arrows.

In preparation for their roles, the cast received four weeks of physical and weapons training in the lead up to shooting.

During this time they conceived a sign language for the characters to communicate non-verbally.

Midthunder’s character is highly skilled with the tomahawk, to which is tied a cord for quick retrieval. It makes for spectacular fight scenes.

The 25-year-old actress has a mixed ethnic background, including Native American, European, Spanish and Asian.

The daughter of casting director Angelique Midthunder and Native American actor David Midthunder, she is an enrolled tribal member at the Ft. Peck Reservation in Montana.

Interestingly, she and her father appear together in the TV series Longmire (2012).

Jhane Myers, a member of both the Comanche and Blackfeet nations served as a producer on the film.

When he found the script did not originally call for horses, Myers insisted they could not have Comanches without horses because theirs is a horse culture.

Myers also advised on the production of a period-accurate toothbrush, which Midthunder can be seen using in the film.

Filming of the movie took place mainly in Stoney Nakoda First Nation land near Calgary in Canada.

The entire film is shot in English with some sequences in the Comanche language.

The remaining sequences were later dubbed into Comanche by the cast, reprising their roles.

Cinematographer Jeff Cutter adopted a ‘natural’ approach to filming without much artificial lighting.

Night sequences relied mostly on torches along with “soft, low underexposed amounts of blue” to replicate moonlight.

For added illumination of the actors’ faces, the torches had LED strips added on the end that faced away from the camera.

Prey is an unexpected treat that will leave you wondering what the producers will think of next. Feudal Japan with Samurai and Ninjas springs to mind.

You can catch Prey on Disney+.


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Time out score

Final thoughts . . .

Why didn’t someone think of this earlier. Bring on feudal Japan.


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