Original title:Prey
Director:Dan Trachtenberg
Running time:99 minutes
Release date:05 august 2022
Three centuries ago in Comanche territory, Naru, a fierce and brilliant warrior, now makes it her duty to protect her tribe whenever danger threatens. She discovers that the prey she is currently stalking is none other than a highly evolved alien predator with the most sophisticated weaponry. A confrontation as perverse as terrifying soon begins between the two adversaries...

Mulder's Review

"If it bleeds, we can kill it." - Predator

The cinematographic saga Predator has never ceased to hold our attention since the film Predator (1987) by John McTiernan in which in the middle of Central America, Major Alan Dutch Schaefer, played by Arnold Schwarzenegger, confronted this powerful alien. Followed by Predator 2 (1990) by Stephen Hopkins, Predators (2010) by Nimród Antal, The Predator (2018) by Shane Black and two crossovers with the Alien universe, Alien vs. Predator (2004) by Paul W. S. Anderson and Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem (2007) by the Strause brothers, the cinematographic universe not only gave birth to an iconic character but was also the source of many comics, video games and other derivative products. While it was expected that this prequel would also be released in theaters, the first surprise was to learn that it would be released in the United States on the online video-on-demand platform Hulu and also in France on Disney+. Directed by Dan Trachtenberg (10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)), this film is intended to be the first arrival on Earth of a representative of this alien race but also its first confrontation with humans. 

Patrick Aison's screenplay finds the perfect approach not only to recapture the emotional power of the first two films but also an original development track by placing the action in 1719 and showing how a tribe of Comanches in balance with their natural environment will have to face an overtrained creature as capable of facing dangerous animals like a wolf and a bear as being practically inviable. The young heroine Naru of this trbu is determined to follow in the footsteps of her older brother Taabe and become a warrior known for her courage, intelligence and strength. 

While most American blockbusters and previous installments of this cinematic saga tend to go straight to action scenes, Prey prefers to focus initially on the way of life of this commanding tribe to the point of reminding us of Kevin Costner's film Dances with Wolves (1990). It emerges a great care visible on the screen to draw a realistic portrait of the Comanche nation, in a genuine respect for the indigenous people who compose it. The main roles were thus attributed to real Amerindians. Producer Jhane Myers, who is also a director and member of the Sundance Film Festival, is known for her commitment to Indian history and culture, and is a member of the Comanche Nation.

Director Dan Trachtenberg benefits not only from a solid cast but also from a script that has perfectly assimilated the founding elements of the Predator cinematographic saga, be it the vision of this creature but also its way of moving and being a real killing weapon with Herculean strength and numerous gadgets that make it as dangerous as it is practically invulnerable. Naru is perfectly played by the young actress Amber Midthunder who gives her not only her fragility but also all her strength. The confrontations between Naru and the Predator remind us of those of the first film, especially by this scene in which she tries to escape from the Predator covered with mud and to fight on equal terms. In the same way, despite its direct release on Hulu / Disney+, this film is rather violent and does not hesitate to our great pleasure to go into the gore and to make blood spurt.

Of course, the special effects are not all perfect, especially concerning the animal life, but the masterful direction of Dan Trachtenberg gives Prey a real stature that relies on two different perspectives, that of the Predator and that of Naru, to the point of finding the perfect balance between adventure and science fiction film, while many other films have hardly found the right approach, as was the case for Cowboys and Aliens (2011). The dialogue in real Native American language brings a solid structure to the film and prevents it from falling into the simple exploitation of a science fiction universe adored by the public. Director Dan Trachtenberg never takes the easy way out and proves to be an excellent narrator to give life to his film. He succeeds in making this film one of the most successful of this cinematographic saga after John McTiernan's film, which has imposed itself as a model of the genre over the years.

While the previous films were more or less convincing, Prey finds intact all the charm of the original film. The great care given to the photography of the film as well as to its sound aspect makes us immerse ourselves in this film that gives the audience what it expects from this universe but also presents many surprises that make it totally immersive.

Directed by Dan Trachtenberg
Screenplay by Patrick Aison
Story by Dan Trachtenberg, Patrick Aison
Based on Characters by Jim Thomas, John Thomas
Produced by John Davis, Marty P. Ewing, Jhane Myers
Starring Amber Midthunder, Dakota Beavers, Dane DiLiegro, Stormee Kipp, Michelle Thrush, Julian Black Antelope
Cinematography : Jeff Cutter
Edited by Angela M. Catanzaro, Claudia Castello
Music by Sarah Schachner
Production companies : 20th Century Studios, Davis Entertainment, Lawrence Gordon Productions
Distributed by Hulu (United States), Star+ (Latin America), Disney+ (International)
Release dates : July 21, 2022 (San Diego Comic-Con), August 5, 2022 (United States, France)
Running time : 99 minutes

Seen on July 21, 2022 at AMC Mission Valley 20 (San Diego)

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