With the franchise having one of the great modern day movie monsters it’s a pity that the Predator films have had something of a chequered history with especially high hopes for the fourth film when fans heard that Shane Black was to both writer and direct only for it to be let down. Helming the reboot that dispenses with the Predator TM and replacing it with Prey is director Dan Trachtenberg as part of a much needed reboot / relaunch in this fifth film. And it’s taken a determined step away from the other films contemporary setting by going back 300 years with the Predator facing off against Native Americans with Naru (Amber Midthunder) a single minded woman determined to prove that she is the equal if not better than many of the men in her tribe. With only her pet dog in tow she wanders through the forest practising her archery, tomahawk throwing and tracking skills. It’s  this that sets up the first half hour of the film as she tries to establish herself as more than just a woman that the male warriors regard her and this foundation setting makes the first act a little slow as it sets out to show how independently minded yet capable Naru is for the inevitable smackdown. Much of this is interspersed with glimpses of the Predator as it arrives on Earth seeking out the biggest most fearsome foe to prove itself against and it’s clear that will be Naru

In that respect the predator is similar in intent to Naru who is also keen to prove her fighting credentials to the tribe chief and is only to keen to stand up against the generations old sexist macho culture of the young warrior men who are all too dismissive of a woman wanting to be a warrior.  She will soon get her chance as will her brothers and the other warriors as they track through the forest slowly aware that there is something else in the stunning forest location. Agatha Christie’s 1939 book Ten Little Indians (not its original title which was far from acceptable) saw a group of people being picked off and murdered and has been the template for many action / horror films and it’s an appropriate title for Prey where each of the comanche’s will be picked off and in gruesome style as they face down the alien predator with his state of the art weapons and technology as it tracks them down. Into all of this is also thrown a large group of French trappers also hunting in the wood and which the predator encounters too though we’re guessing not through any use of tracking technology but merely the smell of garlic.

With the predator all but invisible the film has kept that creepily sinister chirruping as it watches its prey never attacking unless feeling threatened and there is a brutally bloody battle with the trappers which they could have avoided by resorting to French stereotype and immediately surrendering. Instead they wage a full on battle and an extremely bloody one at that never once using a white flag. Prey may be a slow start but once the carnage begins the pace quickens and this inverts the weaponry of the the first film that had Schwarzenegger and his team of commandoes fully kitted up with powerful firearms against the high tech alien but by the end all were reduced to fighting with sticks and stones and it’s a masterstroke of Prey by casting it amongst Native Americans with only knives, axes and arrows against a predator and so much of the films inventiveness centres around that.

Prey is very much its own film not relying on any tie to the other films but can’t resist callback line of dialogue, ‘If it bleeds we can kill it’  though surely screen writer missed an opportunity to put a spin in the line, ‘Get to da choppa!’ with ‘Get to the trapper!’  But the change in setting and period works extremely well from a script by Patrick Aison who’s previous has been in TV series and as helmed by Dan Trachtenberg is an immediate improvement on all the previous films bar the original. Trachtenberg’s work as a director of features has been sporadic but having helmed the Cloverfield sequel so well he proved that he is the right man for this sequel too. Only his second feature film he has rebooted and given new life to a franchise that was in danger of extinction and hopefully this successful sequel will see him given the opportunity to head up far more films. For fans of the franchise, and to the relief of the studio too, their prayers have been answered and Prey is a monster hit.

Watch the Prey trailer HERE

We spoke to lead actress Amber Midthunder about the making of the film……

We spoke to Prey director Dan Trachtenberg about the film too…..


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