Prey is two kinds of origin stories. One takes us back 300 years to an early arrival of a Predator on earth in a story that precedes a long string of Predator movies. The second is the coming of age/origin of a Comanche hero, a young woman named Naru, played by Native American actor Amber Midthunder.
A distinctive feature of Prey is the fact that so many roles in front of and behind the camera were filled by Native Americans. In addition to the lead Amber Midthunder, there was Naru’s brother Tabbe (Dakota Beavers). Other members of the tribe were played by Stormee Kipp, Michelle Thrush, Julian Black Antelope, Stefany Mathias, and more.
The film was shot in English, Comanche, and French. But you can hear the entire thing dubbed in Comanche thanks to the extra work of the actors.
When the story begins, Naru strives to be accepted as a hunter by her brother and the other hunters. She works on her skills with the bow and with an axe.
She’s not very good at first. She misses a deer, a bear, a mountain lion. She learns as she goes. She falls in a pit of quicksand and almost dies. But she’s too smart to die.
Her brains are what save her when the Comanche and the French fur traders in the area become aware of the invisible Predator killing them. Arrows and axes, and even the Frenchmen’s bullets, don’t phase this giant killer. (It’s Dane DiLiegro inside the Predator costume.) The monster has advanced electronic targeting devices, bullet repelling shields, explosives, and metal tools.
As I said, Naru learns as she goes. She watches how the Predator works and finds its weakness. Bravery and brains prove to be an unbeatable combination for this young hero.
The film is as action packed as any horror/thriller in the genre. It cements Amber Midthunder as capable of action stardom, although I suspect she and all the other Native and First Nations actors in this film are capable of any acting job.
I thought it was beautifully done, I loved the ending, the dog was a star, and it’s wonderful to see more Native faces on our screens playing the good guys. If you can deal with the violence, this film is totally recommended.
Dan Trachtenberg directed Prey, which you can see on Hulu. Have you seen it? What did you think of it?