‘Prey’ #NativeNerd review: The Best Predator Movie Ever!

The ‘Prey’ movie features the alien Predator vs. Comanche warriors set 300 years ago? … Ummm, YEAH!

Yes, I’ve seen Prey. Yes, it is awesome. Including the first Predator with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Native actor Sonny Landham (who has since passed) — as much as I loved the first, Dan Trachtenberg hit this one out of the park and in my view, “Prey is the “The Best Predator Movie Ever!”

Prey, to be released on HULU on August 5, will release an English and Comanche Nation language-dubbed version, period-accurate regalia, and Native lead actors Amber Midthunder and Dakota Beavers. The film was directed by Dan Trachtenberg and executive produced by Comanche Nation citizen Jhane Myers.

Prey is the “The Best Predator Movie Ever!”

#NativeNerd reviewer and Rotten Tomatoes critic Vincent Schilling

Synopsis

An all-new action-thriller from 20th Century Studios directed by Dan Trachtenberg (“The Boys,” “10 Cloverfield Lane”), “Prey” is the latest entry in the “Predator” franchise. 

Set in the Comanche Nation 300 years ago, “Prey” is the story of a young woman, Naru, a fierce and highly skilled warrior. She has been raised in the shadow of some of the most legendary hunters who roam the Great Plains, so she sets out to prove herself a worthy hunter when danger threatens her camp. The prey she stalks and ultimately confronts turns out to be a highly evolved alien Predator with a technically advanced arsenal, resulting in a vicious and terrifying showdown between the two adversaries.

My review and score

9.2 / 10

Prey film poster: 20th Century Studios' PREY, exclusively on Hulu. © 2022 20th Century Studios. All Rights Reserved.
Prey film poster: 20th Century Studios’ PREY, exclusively on Hulu. © 2022 20th Century Studios. All Rights Reserved.

My quick comment

“Amber Midthunder and Dakota Beavers create a great bond in Prey, set 300 years ago in Comanche territory. Beautiful cinematography, excellent choreography, The Best Predator Movie Ever.”

My review

Director Dan Trachtenberg said he was a big fan of the original film. (“I was in third grade when the first one came out.”) He did an exceptional job in recreating another film in the Predator franchise.

I was admittedly nervous in one sense because, as a Native American journalist, I have seen my share of predatory behavior against Native communities in history. But due to the diligence of Trachtenberg and Myers as well as others, the film doesn’t come across as though the Native warriors are just cannon fodder. They all worked collaboratively to pull it off masterfully.

But inasmuch as the film was about the alien Predator on the hunt for his next kill, the film threw a lot of unexpected surprises at me in the way of investing in the relationships between people in the film. It didn’t go as far as becoming much like a soap opera but more like an action film that didn’t waste an ounce of space.

(L-R): Dakota Beavers as Taabe and Amber Midthunder as Naru in 20th Century Studios' PREY, exclusively on Hulu. Photo courtesy of 20th Century Studios. © 2022 20th Century Studios. All Rights Reserved.
(L-R): Dakota Beavers as Taabe and Amber Midthunder as Naru in 20th Century Studios’ PREY, exclusively on Hulu. Photo courtesy of 20th Century Studios. © 2022 20th Century Studios. All Rights Reserved.

I was never twiddling my thumbs waiting for the next moment of action but was rather enjoying a beautifully told story amidst gorgeous scenery, majestic sunsets and sunrises and pristine waterfalls and rivers — in an interview, actor Amber Midthunder told me she spent five days filming in glacier runoff water — and she says it was freezing cold. 

Thanks for toughing it out, Amber. The resulting action in the film was a huge payoff.  

Producer Jhane Myers, Comanche and Blackfeet, says that as a full-blooded Native American and enrolled Comanche — she never really thought her Native culture “could ever collide with such a franchise in a film.”

I am so glad it did. There is no mistaking as a Native man that supreme diligence was paid in ensuring cultural accuracy. For once, as a Native man, I could actually relax and enjoy a film without waiting for the culturally inappropriate bomb to drop.

There were two favorite relationships in this film, the first was the wonderful interactions between Midthunder as Naru and Dakota Beavers as Taabe, her older brother. The second was the sincerely gregarious and fun interactions between Naru and her pet dog, who admittedly steals the spotlight on several occasions, but I also have to give sincere credit to Midthunder for holding her own.

(L-R): Cody Big Tobacco as Ania, Harlan Kywayhat as Itsee, Stormee Kipp as Wasape, Dakota Beavers as Taabe, and Amber Midthunder as Naru in 20th Century Studios' PREY, exclusively on Hulu. Photo courtesy of 20th Century Studios. © 2022 20th Century Studios. All Rights Reserved.
(L-R): Cody Big Tobacco as Ania, Harlan Kywayhat as Itsee, Stormee Kipp as Wasape, Dakota Beavers as Taabe, and Amber Midthunder as Naru in 20th Century Studios’ PREY, exclusively on Hulu. Photo courtesy of 20th Century Studios. © 2022 20th Century Studios. All Rights Reserved.

Beavers is a shining light in this film. He wears his heart on his warrior sleeve, and as much as he might prove to be a force in mild opposition to his sister’s near reckless ways, he overall supports her and shows a strong sense of love toward his sister. I can hardly believe he is a newcomer to the acting world. I look forward to seeing more of him in the years to come.

The Predator was as ominous as ever, and I found myself actually rooting for the estranged aliens on a few occasions when he wasn’t trying to go after the Comanche community.

In terms of some interactions with settlers, I found the non-Natives coming across on occasion as overly clumsy fools, but perhaps that was the point.

The biggest feeling I have overall is that the film was simply fantastic. There was a ton of action and many impressive fight scenes (I joked with Amber Midthunder that she was the most awesome of fighters and said she was like a Teenage Mutant Native Turtle), to which we both got a good laugh.

Amber Midthunder as Naru and Dane DiLiegro as the Predator in 20th Century Studios' PREY, exclusively on Hulu. Photo by David Bukach. © 2022 20th Century Studios. All Rights Reserved.
Amber Midthunder as Naru and Dane DiLiegro as the Predator in 20th Century Studios’ PREY, exclusively on Hulu. Photo by David Bukach. © 2022 20th Century Studios. All Rights Reserved.

Midthunder carries the film with a flawless sense of controlled chaos. 

Prey is simply a fantastic film. 

Shoutout to all the cast and crew for doing an exceptional job. You made this Mohawk film reviewer proud. 

Cast and crew

“Prey” stars Amber Midthunder (“The Ice Road,” “Roswell, New Mexico”), newcomer Dakota Beavers, Stormee Kipp (“Sooyii”), Michelle Thrush (“The Journey Home”), Julian Black Antelope (“Tribal”), and Dane DiLiegro (“American Horror Stories”) as the Predator. The film is directed by Dan Trachtenberg and written by Patrick Aison (“Jack Ryan,” “Treadstone”), with a story by Patrick Aison & Dan Trachtenberg based on characters created by Jim Thomas & John Thomas. It is produced by John Davis (“Jungle Cruise,” “Predator”), Jhane Myers (“Monsters of God”), and Marty Ewing (“It: Chapter Two”), with Lawrence Gordon (“Watchmen”), Ben Rosenblatt (“Snowpiercer”), James E. Thomas, John C. Thomas, and Marc Toberoff (“Fantasy Island”) serving as executive producers.

The “Predator” franchise began with the 1987 film starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and directed by John McTiernan. The story of an elite team of mercenaries sent to the jungles of South America on a recovery mission who find themselves hunted by an extraterrestrial warrior with an arsenal of high-tech weapons, the film was a hit and spawned five subsequent films.

The film will stream on August 5, 2022, as a Hulu Original in the U.S., Star+ in Latin America, and Disney+ under the Star banner in all other territories.

Related ‘Prey’ stories

Director Dan Trachtenberg, Comanche Producer Jhane Myers discuss Predator film ‘Prey’
https://nativeviewpoint.com/director-dan-trachtenberg-comanche-producer-jhane-myers/

‘Prey’ actor Dakota Beavers. A fierce warrior with a heart of gold
https://nativeviewpoint.com/prey-actor-dakota-beavers-a-fierce-warrior-with-a-heart-of-gold/

‘Prey’ star Amber Midthunder: ‘Native women have the freedom to do what they want with their life’
https://nativeviewpoint.com/prey-star-amber-midthunder-interview/

‘Prey’ is the Predator vs. Comanche warriors: Why it’s a huge Native deal
https://nativeviewpoint.com/prey-movie-predator-vs-comanche-warriors-why-its-a-huge-native-deal/

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