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Prey Director Says The Predator's Horrifying New Look Had A Major Impact On The Film

"Prey" has seemingly revived the "Predator" franchise after the five largely forgettable films — including two "Alien" crossovers" — that have come since the original 1987 Arnold Schwarzenegger classic. While it's the latest in the series, "Prey" is actually a prequel, taking place 300 years in the past. For the humans fighting the Predator, there are no machine guns, rockets, or flamethrowers available, but the alien beast still has his full lethal array of abilities and weaponry. 

Sara Michelle Fetters of SGN wrote, "For the first time since the late, great Kevin Peter Hall originated the character, the Predator ... is scary again. His imposing physicality and lithe athleticism are merged with a lethally cunning viciousness that gives the creature a startling majesty, an almost supernatural quality that fits the early 18th-century time period beautifully."

To emphasize that viciousness while staying within the timeframe he had established, "Prey" director Dan Trachtenberg gave the creature a very specific update that helped reframe the new timeline and contribute to the undeniable primal energy that runs throughout the film.

The Predator's skull mask replaced the metallic helmet from previous films

Gone is the Predator's metallic helmet, replaced by a mask made from the partial skull of one of its kills. Director Dan Trachtenberg told Amy West of Total Film, "We wanted to suggest that our creature was much more ferocious. It's a little bit stripped down, but still embraces the code that we know a Predator to hunt by – it's a trophy hunter. We just thought, 'Wouldn't be cool if it wears its trophy on its face rather than just on its hip?'" 

It's a fantastic idea and perfectly executed, with the mask exposing enough of the Predator's face to allow some expressions to be seen clearly. This choice lends a depth to the monster viewers have only been able to see when it is unmasked, and its strange visage certainly screams 18th Century more effectively than the shiny silver helmet and face mask ever could. 

Trachtenberg thought the new mask had a palatable effect. He told West, "We happened upon something very exciting ... we kept the mandibles exposed, which are so iconically Predator, and it allowed us to still be engaged with the emotionality of the Predator even while it was masked, which is something that the other films never got a chance to do."