‘Prey’ is a Successful Action Horror Movie.

'Prey' is a Successful Action Horror Movie.

Dan Trachtenberg directed the fifth installment of the Predator series, prey. It took significant risks, and for the most part, it was a successful film.

The movie took place in the Northern Great Plains. We are in the eyes of Naru (Amber Midthunder). She is a young woman constantly underestimated by her tribe and by every man she comes across. She must prove herself worthy by defeating a predator preying on her through the tradition of Kühtaamia. Kühtaamia is a hunter who is hunting something or someone who is hunting them right back. It’s a constant theme throughout the movie.

It takes a while to get into the story, mainly from the overused cliche. Many misogynic phrases are spewed at Naru throughout the first half of the film. These are the harsh realities of what indigenous women may have faced if they were interested in hunting. But we aren’t given a solid reason why Naru chooses to prove herself. The only real purpose is people don’t think she can do it. It’s not a good enough reason. People of all genders, sexual orientations, and races battle against the social norms to be considered more than their identity. There needed to be more dimension to why Naru wanted to go out there and hunt. She can’t be the only woman in her tribe to face these typical trials. More insight into her background would have brought more people to root for Naru earlier. Instead, Tranchenburg relied on the action. Minor to no cuts was in any action sequences, which caused the surrealism of them. By no means Naru was a perfect character; in fact, it gave her more personality when she failed.

Prey showed the most gruesome fights in the Predator franchise. When it comes to gore in horror movies, it’s either too much or unnecessary. All the killing sequences had just enough to keep the audience intrigued by the action and wince at the fatalities. There are many homages to the original predator (1987), but it’s taken a step forward by technological advances and by displaying the different animals that the Predator faces. His first target was a snake. It was a rather tamed sequence, but it was a taste-tester for what was to come. His next big bad was a wolf. It was a simple kill, but it ultimately showcased the many weapons that Predators used during this time. The one that everyone has seen in the trailer was the bear. It’s even better when watching the whole scene. The terror on Naru’s face and the reveal of the Predator’s (Dane DiLiegro) body were what got the ball rolling for the movie. From then on, we are on a whirlwind of action-packed horror that leaves viewers at the edge of their seats.

The movie has gotten many great reviews; however, there are a few that don’t take the character Naru seriously. To them, it was unbelieveable for a young woman to go head to head with a Predator. They failed to see that Naru grew from start to finish. She couldn’t defeat the alien overnight. It took many failures and the loss of her brother, Taabe (Dakota Beavers) to win. That’s a true hero. Naru uses everything to her advantage in order to be the one on top. To say that Naru couldn’t win didn’t truly analyze her journey. She starts as a lone wolf trying to find tracks from an unknown beast. In the process, she drops into a pit of mud. That could have easily been the ending of Naru. Instead, she showed resilience. She was murdered almost by a lioness, a bear, and the white settlers that used her and Taabe as bait. And in each setting, she had minor wins to show the ultimate progression towards victory. That’s an honorable female lead– not someone who easily wins, but one that continues to fight even when everything is against her.

Native Americans in horror films are uncommon, to say the least, but it was made with the love of the director, who made it his mission to create the world as accurately as possible. At first, it will be a little unsettling to hear the Natives speak English in the 18th century, but Tranchenburg has the dubbed version for the Native language so people can enjoy it more authentically.

Honorable Mentions:

Naru’s dog, Sarii (Coco), and her brother Taabe will steal your hearts as they constantly support Naru and her struggles. Another aspect is the amazing camera work done on the fight sequences and the beautiful scenes that included the tribes sleeping grounds and the nature surrounding them.

Rating: 3.9/5

Overall, Prey is an excellent start to a possible new series of films. The beginning of the movie stunts the score, but the great action and the finale really pull the story to an amazing closing.


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