Predator is an action/science fiction movie directed by John McTiernan and released in 1987. While the dialogue and acting are nothing to write home about, there is a level of charm that comes with all 80s action movies and this is no different.
For about two-thirds of the movie, there is minimal dialogue, with the setting and atmosphere doing more to set the scene which is a nice change from movies in today’s world, as many movies do not use atmosphere for storytelling and instead rely on the characters/dialogue to set the scene/tone instead.
This is a refreshing change and the minimal dialogue commands the audience’s full attention.
It features everyone’s favorite Terminator Arnold Schwarzenegger in the leading role, accompanied by Shane Black, Carl Weathers, Jesse Ventura, Bill Duke, Richard Chaves, Elpidia Carrillo and Sonny Landham.
The film follows an elite group of United States super-commandos as they are dispatched to a Guatemalan jungle to rescue a group of politicians that were captured by guerilla soldiers. After finding multiple dead bodies, the group soon realizes they are being hunted by something or someone with a nasty habit of skinning its victims and displaying them in trees and must try and escape before they are all dead.
What this movie does exceptionally well, aside from having a good story, is creating a sense of dread and impending doom, which is exceptionally hard to do when your cast is composed of muscle gods like Schwarzenegger who are playing nearly unstoppable soldiers.
Having the predator, played by Kevin Peter Hall, be invisible for the majority of the movie only adds to the sense of terror as the monster could be anywhere which results in every scene dripping with tension.
The predator is a memorable movie monster, with its ability to camouflage and see infrared helps it to be in a class of its own. It is almost like a twisted Batman, using gadgets and the environment to stalk and pick off enemies one by one in a very gory fashion.
The concept of a trophy-hunting alien pursuing United States commandos might seem dumb, and to an extent, the movie is loud and dumb, but in its quiet moments it is as good an alien movie thriller as any and provides an enjoyable action/thriller romp.
Aside from the impressive practical effects, it is an important movie to watch as there have been only a handful of films to effectively build tension and dread from the environment alone and is a perfect example of how to make a memorable movie monster.