The prey did not kill the dog

The last opus of Predator film franchise, Prey is refreshing in many ways. Audiences get a strong female lead, in the Comanche hunter Naru (Amber Midthunder), and experience a new take on what could easily have been a repetitive storyline.

Set in the Great Plains of 16th century North America, Prey has a high number of victims, animals and humans. (It’s a Predator movie, after all.) It would have been easy to add Naru’s beloved dog, Sarii, to the tally. But in perhaps the most refreshing twist of all, Sarii lives on until the end of the film.

Why do dogs (almost) always die?

Tom Holland as Todd Hewitt, with Machee, in Chaos Walking (Lionsgate)

Moviegoers are used to falling in love with a nice dog at the start of a movie, only to see him get killed at the end. Of John Wick at I’m a legendHollywood loves to make us cry.

We’ve seen natural endings, mourning with the Grogans over Marley’s eventual passing Marley and me. We witnessed brutal murders, suffering alongside Tom Holland’s Todd as he watched his beloved Manchee drown in Chaotic walk.

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And even though the main dog survives until the end of the film, there always seems to be collateral damage. For example, Lassie survives the 2005 remake, but not before her boyfriend Toots is bludgeoned to death by bandits.

These deaths are often so upsetting that viewers want to avoid them altogether. Websites like does the dog die warn if, and how, the dog dies in a movie to help viewers avoid heartbreak.

While some deaths are inevitable, it often feels like a dog’s goal in a movie is to be killed. Other times, the dead are positioned to provide crucial moments of character growth for their human counterparts.

But movies like Prey demonstrate how dogs can help characters grow without be sacrificed to advance the plot. If a franchise as violent as Predator can keep his dog alive, surely others can do the same.

The story of The Prey Dog is inspiring, on and off screen

Coco as Sarii in Prey (20th Century Studios)
Coco as Sarii in Prey (20th Century Studios)

Sarii bravely defends Naru throughout Prey, whether against a grizzly or against the Predator itself. The dog is a fighter who never abandons his best friend during their dangerous journey.

In real life, Sarii is played by Coco, a dog from Caroline. While Coco’s journey may not have been as perilous as her onscreen counterpart’s, it’s just as inspiring.

In 2021, Coco was just a shelter dog living in Fulton County, Georgia. Fortunately, director Dan Trachtenberg was so inspired by “Dog” in madmax that he decided Prey need a canine sidekick.

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Coco was adopted with her movie role in mind and originally only played a small part in Prey. However, test audiences loved him so much that his role was expanded, propelling the former shelter dog into stardom.

Of course, going from an animal shelter to a movie set is no small feat. Coco was not entirely prepared for the experience.

middle of thunder affectionately referred to her co-star as “a bit of a hot mess”, explaining that Coco had a lot of exuberant energy. However, she also charmed her human co-stars, with Midthunder sharing that she was a “delight to have around”.

Coco’s endearing performance easily became a highlight of Prey. In an uplifting turn of events, Sarii and Coco have a happy ending.

What Sarii de Prey shows us about movie dogs

Coco as Sarii and Amber Midthunder as Naru in Prey (20th Century Studios)
Coco as Sarii and Amber Midthunder as Naru in Prey (20th Century Studios)

In the end, Sarii’s survival in Prey does not take away from the emotional weight of the film. While audiences don’t have to go through the pain of seeing another faithful companion sacrificed for history, that doesn’t mean we’re going through. Prey worry-free.

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We still experience the specific kind of fear you only have for dogs in movies. For some reason, it’s so much more anxiety-inducing to watch a dog fight for its life than any human character.

But the emotional payoff can be so much higher when filmmakers allow the dogs to live. The “dying dog” trope has become so predictable that survival can lead to more interesting storylines as well.

With a bit of luck, Prey is just the beginning of the movie trend in which viewers can see our favorite furry characters evolve into heroes without being sacrificed for the sake of the plot.


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