- Prey director Dan Trachtenberg reveals that the original Predator movie was a major influence on his critically acclaimed prequel.
- Trachtenberg’s film is praised for its simplicity and character-driven plot, making it the most successful continuation of the Predator franchise since the original 1987 movie.
- Unlike other sequels, Prey honors the original by returning to the simple hunter-and-prey dynamic, reigniting interest in the franchise and rescuing it from mediocrity.
Prey director Dan Trachtenberg reveals the major influence that the original Predator movie had on his critically acclaimed prequel. Set in the Northern Great Plains during the early 18th century, 2022’s Prey saw Amber Midthunder’s Comanche warrior Naru face off against a Predator centuries before Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Major Dutch Schaefer did the same in the jungles of Central America. Praised for its simplicity and character-driven plot, Trachtenberg’s film is widely hailed as the most successful continuation of the Predator franchise since the original 1987 movie.
During an interview with The Wrap, Trachtenberg revealed that the initial seeds of his own Predator movie came from hearing the plot of the original film explained to him as a child. Though he was too young to watch the original movie at the time of its release, the future director had a scene where Sonny Landham’s Native American tracker Billy Sole fought the Predator explained to him by older children. Check out his comments below:
I was not allowed to see “Predator” when it first came out because it was R-rated. I was in third grade, I think, and I was in the back of a carpool on the way to a karate tournament and all the sixth graders had seen “Predator” and described the entire movie to me on the way to the tournament. I distinctly remember them saying, “There’s an awesome scene where Billy, the Native American tracker, stops on a bridge over a waterfall and cuts himself and fights the Predator.”
That scene is not in the movie. You see Billy cut himself and then he screams off-camera and that’s it, but my kid brain envisioned how it must have been. So that was the first seed planted of what eventually became “Prey.”
How Prey Honors The Original Predator Movie Better Than Any Other Sequel
Despite opening to mixed reviews and being accused by critics of substituting special effects for suspense, 1987’s Predator would ultimately go on to become a much-beloved sci-fi classic responsible for spawning multiple sequels and a slew of spinoff books, comics and videogames. Yet despite the popular appeal of the original movie, the franchise’s subsequent attempts to build upon the iconic Schwarzenegger outing often fell well short of expectations.
Trachtenberg’s approach to his own prequel, however, would buck the trend of seeking to one-up previous entries and feature increasingly bigger and better threats. Between including multiple Predators, taking the action to other planets, or even introducing a genetically modified “Ultimate Predator,” many of the later films lost touch with the very simple hunter-and-prey dynamic that sat at the heart of the original movie. Prey, however, intentionally avoided such elaborate trappings and returned to a much simpler, yet far more powerful, concept.
Where once audiences had begun to tire of a Predator franchise that grew increasingly stale with each successive entry, with Prey, Trachtenberg was able to reignite interest in the property in a way that no other sequel had. Cleverly crafted and exquisitely told, Trachtenberg is more than deserving of the honors being directed his way for effectively rescuing the sci-fi franchise from mediocrity. With any luck, talks of a possible Prey 2 may also see Trachtenberg’s successful approach applied to yet more films to come.
Source: The Wrap