The newest film in the Predator series, Prey, was released Aug. 5 as a Hulu original starring Amber Midthunder and Dakota Beavers. Directed by Dan Trachtenberg and written by Patrick Aison, the film is set in the early 18th century in the Great Plains, where a young Comanche woman witnesses the crash landing of a spacecraft and sets out to prove herself as a hunter.
Prey differs from the rest of the Predator series as it predates the original films and consists almost entirely of Native American and First Nation actors and actresses. The casting of this film made it possible for more Indigenous talent to premiere on the big screen.
Naru, played by Amber Midthunder, is a healer who dreams of becoming a distinguished hunter like her older brother, Taabe, played by Dakota Beavers. While pursuing a deer in the forest with her dog, Naru witnesses what looks like a Thunderbird falling from the sky. She takes this as a sign to prove herself. She returns to her village to find out that one of the hunters was taken by a mountain lion. Naru insists on coming along with the search party to help track and provide medical care but soon comes across signs that something alien is out there.
After healing the hunter, she encounters the mountain lion on the tree branch but gets distracted by mysterious sounds and lights and falls, hitting her head. Naru becomes frustrated after her failed attempt to catch the mountain lion. Her brother is successful and is rewarded by the tribe, becoming War Chief. She wanders from her tribe to investigate. Meanwhile, a Predator hunts for a formidable opponent worthy of fighting.
The cinematography was simply beautiful, with panoramic shots of nature and ancient North American landscapes. The use of the landscape really sets the movie’s tone while following Naru’s growth and use of her surroundings.
The introduction of the Predator was epic, showing off his robustness and strength. His weaponry and use of limited technology showed how primitive and powerful the Predator can be without its traditional armor and weapons.
I would say the representation of the Comanche Nation was done well and with love from the people who all worked together on this film. I loved that they showed subtle nods toward the indigenous tribe, from the knowledge of medicine to crafting an arm stretcher out of wood and sticks.
Midthunder’s performance as Naru was refreshing because it differs from previous Predator films. She portrays Naru as a girl relying on her intellect and observation skills and using her surroundings to her advantage. There is no military, no advanced weaponry to eliminate alien creatures. There is just Naru simply being strategic and using her home-field advantage to defeat the Predator.
What surprised me about this movie was the actors did a Comanche dubbed version. I do not think this has ever occurred in a Hollywood film.
“I think this is the best Predator movie I have seen so far. One of the best in the series,” said Dr. Kim Morrison.
“I liked the fact this film wasn’t compared to the original franchise movies. It’s not male-dominated,” said librarian Eugenia Chan.