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

Director: Dan Trachtenberg
Writers: Patrick Aison, Dan Trachtenberg, Jim Thomas
Staring: Amber Midthunder, Dakota Beavers, Dane DiLiegro
Release Date: August 5, 2022
IMDB

I am in awe!!! Prey is an action fans biggest kink. Prey takes what Predator (1987) created and pays wonderful homage while also builds upon it in every which way. Prey has not right being as being fucking incredible as it is. Before I continue rambling about my own thoughts and praising Prey for what it is, major shout out to director Dan Trachtenberg for making something worthy of fawning and revisiting non-stop.

Simplicity at its finest. Prey‘s story is simple in the best way possible.

Naru (Amber Midthunder) is a young badass women within Comanche trip on the Northern Great Plains in 1719. She wants nothing more than to be a hunter, but she is doubted in her warrior ability by many in the tribe. One who is supportive of Naru’s quest for kuhtaamia is her brother Taabe (Dakota Beavers), but she still needs to fight over his shadow, specially after he is named the new war chief of the tribe.

Naru, alongside her dog Sarii, is confident that there is something dangerous wreaking havoc in the wilderness. Traditional predators are running scared, and odd events, footprints and sightings are all omens in Naru’s favor, but still she is doubted. Tired of being shooed to the side, Naru goes out on her own hunt to track down this mysterious predator.

To quote King Theodon, “So It Begins”.

Naru learns that this mysterious terror is the Yautja, also known as The Predator. She sees this killing machine maul some of nature’s most dangerous beasts and in a bit of reckless confidence, she decides she must be the one to stop it. As the movie Prey progresses, Naru must learn about her alien enemy while it continues to wreak havoc on beast and man. What makes the Yautja tick? What are its capabilities? Most importantly, how can the Yautja be killed?

It is a simple premise, and that is what makes it so good. Prey is a story of an underdog warrior going up against an ultimate beast. Director Dan Trachtenberg describes it as his “David & Goliath” story, and it’s a perfect summation of Naru’s story.

Naru & Taabe In The WIlderness

None of Prey works without the incredible leading performance by Amber Midthunder. I mean let’s be honest here, she stole everyone’s hearts with this movie. Playing the lead role of Naru, Midthunder is viscerally physical. Her cowering movements when tracking combined with her downright thunderous innovating fighting style means that she balances on both sides of the see-saw of dangerous. Her character is looked down on as someone who has the will but not the way, due in large part to the fact that she is a women. But once she starts dicing people up and outsmarting the world’s most dangerous predator, well you decide to underestimate her after watching her dismantle and entire fur trading party.

Naru is set up as someone who goes array from the traditional path. This is shown in the beginning portions of Prey where she wakes up. When we first meet Naru, she arises from a slumber and follows the women to the field for harvesting of medicine and food. The second time we see Naru awaken, she doesn’t follow the cooing baby, which was an AWESOME bit of subconscious triggering by the writers having that sound be in both wake ups. Instead of following the herd she turns around, goes against the grain, and ventures out on her own. She wants to beat to her own drum, she wants to hunt not only for prey, but for respect.

The non-verbal story telling stems into the violence of Prey. We get clear progression of the Predator’s mindset on earth. He studies the environment. He studies the food chain, watching animals hunting other animals and then taking down the victor for his own personal trophy. For an action movie to transcend middle tier enjoyment level and reach a god level of reverence you need the violence to tell a story and that is what Prey does. We see the Yautja learning about a new environment and combatants, but we also see Naru learning while she is fighting. Midthunder is able to convey learnt knowledge with the movement and her eyes and that bit of physical acting is accented by director Dan Trachtenberg.

Naru In Quite A Predicament

Give. This. Man. A. Franchise. Give Dan Trachtenberg a franchise. He has come in twice to two different franchises and made two of the best pieces of content in those established worlds. 10 Cloverfield Lane (2016) was nothing what fans expected when it came out. Prey has saved the Predator movie universe. The Predator (2018) was an utter disaster, but Prey should erase everyone’s mind of that pile of disappointment.

Trachtenberg’s work in Prey is outstanding because he knows what made Predator an all-time classic. The Yautja is a killing machine. It is ruthless. It enjoys showering itself in blood (literally), pulling spines out of its dead opponents and creating existential dread in its prey. Prey strips Yautja down to its bear bones again; it takes it down to its square root and then lays it out for the audience to admire. There is not an extended world to worry about in Prey. In fact, one could argue to retcons other movies that include Yautja versus some other famous other-worldly killers. In the two movies that Trachtenberg has made, he has been able to sift through different versions of genre and get down to what the audience loves most. He feeds the viewers a feast of tension and viewing pleasure. I can attest, the audience gobbles it all up with extreme gluttony.

A Stripped Down Version Of The Predator

Any Predator movies has some iconic moments everyone waits for. The first time we see the heat vision. The first time we hear the clicking. The first time we see the invisibility take effect. Also, the unmasking and face reveal. Prey delivers in every aspect, but the first time we see the Yautja let loose a massive howl without his mask is fucking fantastic. The Native American hunters who doubted Naru stand no chance. It is the first time we see the alien go up against humans, and the violence only gets more extreme and memorable.

For those who are rolling eyes and saying that I just spoiled a battle that took place, I can promise you that you still have plenty of Yautja versus human battles.

One other small note on Trachtenberg knowing what the audience wants. He uses empty space, silence and longing glares just like Shane Black did in Predator. How many times do we see Mac (Bill Duke), Sonny Landham (Billy) and Blain (Jesse Ventura) stare into the void and wonder what is giving them goosebumps. Whether it by 1719 in the Great Plains or 1987 in the jungle, Yautja bring about the same emotions. It makes people question their own sanity and ability, putting ultimate alpha personalities in mental pretzels.

Prey is a love letter to action movie fans and Predator lovers. Can you tell I loved it?

The movie was made not only with care for the action genre, but also for the Comanche culture and language. The movie fluctuates between English and Comanche. It honors many of the traditions woven within the Native American community without it appearing preachy of thrown-in.

At the end of the movie, we get a glimpse as to what Trachtenberg has in mind for what a sequel may look like. There is a Comanche cave painting depiction of the future with more Yautja ships arriving into the earth’s atmosphere. This would help explain an Easter Egg within Prey that connects back to Predator 2 (1990). It opens the door for a sequel, which I personally will welcome with wider arms than you could possibly fathom.

If we get to explore more action nirvana like Prey, then I will take it in whatever historical era that this movie’s creators deem worthy. With this bit of masterclass, I have had my faith restored in the the Predator franchise. Between the five true Yautja based movies, and the two Alien vs. Predator movies, you run the gamut in terms of quality, entertainment and craftsmanship. Prey is easily near-the-top, and some could argue at-the-top of the entire catalog.

But that is a topic for a different day.

Go watch Prey on HULU now. Do whatever it takes to carve out 90 minutes of your day because you will be drawn into the story and action like a moth drawn to light. Prey hunts your attention, and then tames you with it. And at the end, you’ll be begging for it not to end.

STANKO RATING: A (5.0/5 Stars)


“Stanko’s Stance” Podcast Feed (Apple)
“Stanko’s Stance” Podcast Feed (Spotify)

Stanko Excel Lists | Movies, Books, Podcasts. TV Shows
Stanko Letterdbox Account


“The Mummy” | Love This Old Shit. Watch The Inspiration.

“An Egyptian mummy searches Cairo for the girl he thinks is his long-lost princess.” Director: Karl FreundWriters: Nina Wilcox Putnam, Richard Schayer, John L BalderstonStaring: Boris Karloff, Zita Johann, David Manners, Arther Byron, Edward Van Sloan, Bramwell Fletcher, Noble Johnson, Kathryne Byron, Leonard Mudie, James Crane, Henry Victor, Arnold GrayRelease Date: December 22, 1932 Before […]

NFL Week 4 Picks

WEEK 3 RECAP Straight Up: 7-9-0 (43.8%)Against The Spread: 7-9-0 (43.8%)Over/Under: 7-8-1 (46.9%)Mortal Locks: 1-0 (100%) | Cincinnati Bengals (-5.0) vs. New York Jets ODDS AS OF WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 28th (9:51 AM) ON BARSTOOL SPORTSBOOK Thursday, September 29 Miami DOlphins vs. Cincinnati Bengals (-4.0) Straight Up: Cincinnati BengalsAgainst The Spread: Cincinnati Bengals (-4.0)Over/Under: Under 47.0 […]

5 Comments »

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s