‘Prey’ Director Opens Up About Horrifying Experience of Filming in Mud Pits

by Samantha Whidden

Following the premiere of Predator prequel Prey on Hulu, the film’s director, Dan Trachtenberg shares details about the horrifying experience of filming in mud pits. 

While speaking on The Ringer’s The Big Picture podcast this week, the Prey filmmaker explained why filming in the mud pit scenes was actually worse than originally expected. “It was so hard,” Trachtenberg admitted. The director also shared that he and his team actually looked a lot at The Neverending Story as inspiration for the scenes. 

“We dug a ditch and built a mud pit in nature,” he continued. “I will say the interesting thing is that, you wouldn’t know it was there when we showed up in the morning to shoot, you know just walking around, but as soon as a person entered, as soon as human flesh interacted with whatever was in there, the most horrible stench you could ever smell erupted from it.”

The Prey director couldn’t exactly point out what was causing the smell in the mud pits. “I don’t know what that chemical interaction was but it was disgusting. And a number of actors had to go – we had doubles that had to go in there, stunt performers, Amber [Midthunder], others.”

‘Prey’ Director Says Those in the Mud Pits Couldn’t Be Clean Again For Awhile

Meanwhile, the Prey director further explained that once people went into the mud pits, they couldn’t be clean again for a while.

“So we actually shot it over the course of a week of shooting, or 5 days, where we would do like all the entrances,” Trachtenberg shared. “She gets clean, we regroup, and then we shoot some night stuff in that scenario around that set. And then the next day, we come back and we would do all of her leaving. You know we would just have to do it over the course of the day because once you’re in, that’s it, and then you don’t want to spend too much time in there anyway.”

Starring Midthunder, Dakota Beavers, and Dane DiLiegro, Prey is the original story of the Predator in the world of Comanche Nation 300 years prior to the Predator events. The film’s description further reads, “Naru, a skilled warrior, fights to protect her tribe against one of the first highly-evolved Predators to land on Earth.”

Prey is already a success. It even has a 93% on Rotten Tomatoes. One of the film’s critics wrote, “The rare franchise installment that finds a fresh, compelling spin on the material while also effectively drawing inspiration from the original without being suffocated by it.”

Another critic went on to add, “Hulu’s clever prequel to Predator is so much more than IP exploitation—it’s bloodthirsty, self-assured, and crowd-pleasing.”