This edition of MZNJ’s Saturday Night Double Feature has a Native American theme! Both flicks feature a heavy emphasis on Native American culture and characters and cast Native American actors in starring and supporting roles!
Flick takes place in 1814 with America once again at war with the British and both sides trying to win the allegiance of the local Native American tribes. A British soldier (Eamon Farren) becomes personally involved with Mohawk woman Okwaho (Kaniehtiio Horn) and her lover Calvin (Justin Rain) while on just such a mission. When Calvin murders a group of American soldiers in their sleep, this brings the surviving platoon members out for revenge, and they ruthlessly pursue the trio through the wilderness.
Film is directed by Ted Geoghegan (We Are Still Here) from a script by he and Grady Hendrix and not only does he cast Native American actors in Native American roles, but audaciously paints the American soldiers clearly as the bad guys. Low budget film has a very raw feel to it, shot in Upstate New York and with minimal sets. The acting is a bit uneven at times, but the casting, costumes and settings give atmosphere to this very violent and brutal period flick. It has a deliberately methodical pace and there is a slight supernatural edge to it, especially in the last act. Add to that a very effective electronic score by Wojciech Golczewski and you have an interesting and effective little movie from Ted Geoghegan. Also stars horror film familiar face Noah Segan (Some Kind of Hate, Starry Eyes) and WWE Superstar Luke Harper under his real name of Jonathan Huber. Recommended for something a little different.
Prequel to the now classic franchise takes place in 1719 with the iconic Predator coming to Earth to hunt near the home of a Comanche tribe. Tracker and would-be warrior Naru (Amber Midthunder) has seen the arrival of a strange flying thing in the sky and soon believes there is something other than a mountain lion or bear stalking the nearby woodlands. Her hunter brother Taabe (Dakota Beavers) disagrees and brings home a dead mountain lion to prove it. Naru vows to show her tribe that she is a true warrior and sets out to hunt whatever is lurking in the trees. Little does she know; she tracks a hunter (Dane DiLiegro) unlike anything she or her people have ever faced.
Back to basics entry in this series is well directed by Dan Trachtenberg (10 Cloverfield Lane) from a script by Patrick Aison. It is by far the best entry since the original and manages to return the series to its roots, making it both fresh and familiar. Prey cleverly turns back the clock and has the creature face a people whose very lives depend on tracking and hunting, but without any modern technology. The Predator itself is over 200 years older than the one Arnie faced, and while technically advanced, does not quite have the gadgets that creature did. It is more savage and makes the titular beast scary again. The action is violent and bloody and the Native American cast, especially leading lady Amber Midthunder, give the film the air of authenticity it needs to make it more involving. There is also some commentary about the advent of European settlers, when a group of Frenchmen invade the area looking for animal pelts and meet the other invader on the Comanche lands. It’s a gritty, suspenseful and sometimes gruesome flick with Amber Midthunder being a solid action heroine and a star in the making. Some subpar CGI blood aside, this fifth entry in this franchise really brings back the spirit and intensity of the original. Flick is currently streaming on Hulu but deserved a theatrical release.