Prey (2022) – Movie Review

Prey2022.

Directed by Dan Trachtenberg.
Starring Amber Midthunder, Harlan Blayne Kytwayhat, Dane DiLiegro, Dakota Beavers, Nelson Leis, Stormee Kipp, Michelle Thrush, Julian Black Antelope, and Stefany Mathias.

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SYNOPSIS:

The origin story of the Predator in the world of the Comanche Nation 300 years ago. Naru, a skilled warrior, fights to protect her tribe against one of the first highly evolved predators to land on Earth.

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Director Dan Trachtenberg understands the characteristics of the creatures. Here, he is reimagining the Predator franchise and flipping the script with Prey (the 10 Cloverfield Street The filmmaker is also using a screenplay by Patrick Aaison), an origin story that refreshingly focuses on the arrival of the alien species and their clash against an 18th-century Comanche tribe. And unique ideas aren’t likely to fall flat on their faces, but it quickly becomes apparent that Dan Trachtenberg is a student of the action/sci-fi/horror genre itself, slowly building terror and suspense.

The humanoid alien is seen trophy hunting (skinning snakes and beating bears to death). It’s mostly done through signature invisibility cloaking, thermal vision perspectives, and cinematographer Jeff Cutter’s brilliant shot-blocking that obscures cuts and decapitations without shying away from the spurts of blood. Add in Sarah Schachner’s fast-paced score, fully performing horror accentuation sequences that gradually reveal danger (like some of the best horror movies, there’s not an intentional sharp look at the creature until about halfway through), more and more. violently and chaotically controlled.

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It also helps that the Predator kills in a brutal and gory style, taking on larger groups as the film builds to a supremely exciting showdown that will likely have one pounding their chests and bursting with applause from their living rooms (you know , because Disney is dumb and anti-consumer who chooses not to give this huge blockbuster a theatrical run in favor of increasing streaming subscribers).

Prey is a technical marvel, from the stunning scenery, the brief but detailed look at Comanche settlements, the authenticity brimming with weaponry and tracking, its modern Predator design (a mix of costumes, practical effects, and CGI that enhances certain aspects of the former for a appearance plus menacing and physically imposing portrayal) and its fast-paced, relentless, escalating bloodshed segments. It may sound similar to the tried and true Predator formula. Still, in practice, it looks totally distinctive (viewers will also be able to go a step further by streaming the film entirely in the Comanche language, which for some inexplicable reason wasn’t an option for critical review coverage).

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Prominent in this Comanche tribe are the brothers Naru (Amber Midthunder) and Taabe (Dakota Beavers), with the former eager to prove himself and assert himself in the hunt. Even though he has the necessary skills, an unspoken but blatant sexism comes into play, suggesting that he stick to other duties or take on the role of a doctor (another one of his specialties). While some of the tribesmen’s dialogue occasionally seems forced and more like schoolyard bullying than anything else, it doesn’t put Naru at ease with more drive, conviction, and resolve; all of this allows Amber Midthunder to tap into that “if he bleeds, we can kill him” mentality that has always worked as the backbone of the movies.

Fortunately, Naru’s relationship with brother Taabe comes with mutual respect, even if there is a little sibling rivalry. Taabe still ignores some of the sister’s tactical advice and doesn’t believe her words about witnessing something far more dangerous than a lion in the wild. Naturally, this creates internal drama as they attempt to rescue one of their own (no one knows what maimed it) and return to camp. It’s also not a spoiler to say that almost anyone who shrugs off these warnings meets a sadistically pleasurable death.

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Eventually some French trappers also enter the equation (they’re more fodder for the Predator) with their plans to kill the beast. Simultaneously, the dynamic between Naru and Taabe deepens emotionally as they tune in for a riveting and harrowing survival showdown. Amber Midthunder is up to the challenge in Prey, immediately cementing herself as a must-see action heroine; she is a fierce force to be reckoned with.

Flashing Myth Rating – Movie: ★ ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Robert Kojder is a member of the Chicago Film Critics Association and the Critics Choice Association. He is also the reviews editor for Flickering Myth. Check here for new reviews, follow my Twitter or Letterboxd, or email me at [email protected]

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