'Prey' Simply Slays

Directed by Dan Trachtenberg

Starring Amber Midthunder, Dakota Beavers, Dane DiLiegro, Stormee Kipp, Michelle Thrush, Julian Black Antelope

Photo: David Bukach

BY Andres GuzmanPublished Aug 3, 2022

The worst thing about Dan Trachtenberg's Prey is that we'll only get to see the film in the comfort of our homes instead of seeing it on the big screen. Prey is a prequel for the Predator franchise and takes place in the Comanche Nation in 1719. We follow Naru (Amber Midthunder) as she tackles gender norms and a Predator. The brilliance of the script is the way it makes both conflicts equally riveting. The film is designed to have Naru's journeys and the Predator's arrival on Earth take place side-by-side, so we genuinely care for Naru (and her dog, Sarii) as she starts going up against the Predator. The script is immaculate, not relying on too much dialogue, and leaving space for moments of silence as Naru watches the animals in the woods — or when the Predator does the same.

Naru wants to go with her brother, Taabe (Dakota Beavers), and the other men of her nation to hunt, but they instead make jokes and don't take her seriously. Her brother says she has to prove herself; it's one thing to hunt animals that don't fight back, but to prove yourself, one must hunt something that can hunt you back: kühtaamia, as it's called in the Comanche language. And that's when our Predator (or mupitsel, meaning monster) comes into play. This makes the film more than just an attempt to survive attacks from an alien; it's also about proving what you're capable of.

The film is stunning, occasionally hiding in the shadows to disguise a bit of the CGI, offering the authentic-feeling POV of two predators stalking their prey. The percussion used in the score is filled with energy, keeping the tension high as animals and enemies are thrown to the side like they had no chance of survival.

The film's opening lines are spoken in Comanche, but the film frequently uses English. There is an alternate version that will be streamable on Hulu (and hopefully Disney+ in Canada) with a Comanche dub. When that film arrives online, I will also be watching that version, and I'm looking forward to witnessing the brutality again. Trachtenberg doesn't outright show us everything that the Predator does to victims, but it's heavily implied, and deserves a rewind or two from your remote. If you, like me, enjoy gore, you're in for a treat. 

For viewers who don't often get major-release films spoken in their language, Prey offers visibility on one of the biggest streaming platforms — something that would be valuable even if the film were a lesser product, which it's not. Amber Midthunder first stood out to me as Kerry on FX's Legion, and here she's remarkable, as the film allows her to process a vast range of emotions across its 90-minute runtime. 

Prey is short, brutal, fun and easily accessible for everyone to watch (although maybe not kids — it's rated R). Do not miss it.
(20th Century Studios)

Latest Coverage