Prey – 2022

Director Dan Trachtenberg
Screenplay Patrick Aison
Starring Amber Midthunder, Dakota Beavers, Stormee Kipp, Michelle Thrush, Julian Black Antelope, Dan DiLiegro

Prey is the Predator film that threatens to put all of the others to shame. It’s not just a story of survival. It is one that sees an old people (The Comanche Nation) in it’s purest form, before America was overun by the sheer numbers of Europeans. The story starts with Naru (Midthunder) a young warrior to be who is still in the shadow of her incredibly skilled older brouther Taabe (Beavers). Both siblings are played with an ease and natural affability that it is easy to see them as people, and not just merely charcters.

One day, on a hunt, Naru sees a “Thunderbird” across the sky. Of course we know this is no bird. She sees it as a sign as being ready for the next step in proving herself. Her brother is more concerned with the mountain lion that attacks one of the other hunters of the tribe. While Naru is allowed to accompany the warriors on the hunt, a Predator is testing his skill on a variety of predators throughout the area.

Eventually, these two entities have to meet, but not before Trachtenberg and Aison give us plenty more tangents to enjoy along the way. One of these include a mass of skinned buffalo in a giant field. Anyone who knows how the Predator works would understand that this is not the typical prey of the hunter. It’s easy to guess who is responsible for this atrocity, but it’s fun to see how it turns out.

For her part, Midthunder is remarkable. Her presence is undeniable. She has intelligence and prowess, but she also knows how to show a capacity to learn. As obvious as it was for Dutch to discover a weakness in the hunter’s heat sensor equipment, we see Naru develop reasonable plans that don’t rely on luck to succeed.

This is easily the best sequel to the original film. Sans the lightning in a bottle feel of that first film, this one is better in every way. There is some excellent character development of the Comanches, which has never occurred in any of the other films to nearly this extent. Other Predator films present caricatures to be decimated. Trachtenberg and Aison create a functioning world that is upended by something no one had even heard of before now.

The film is presented in English and Comanche audio options. I watched it in English first, but I will see the Comanche version next. Then undoubtedly watch it time and again. This is the right way to make a Predator film. What’s more, this is just the right way to tell any story.

(***** out of *****)

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