Prey is One of the Most Refreshing Films in the Predator Franchise

August 2022: The Predator franchise has had an uneven history since its debut back in 1987. The premise is exceptional in terms of its simplicity- a rat race against aliens who live for nothing more than a brilliant hunt to travel to planet Earth in search of their prey. It was executed particularly well off for the two initial films, however, that high-level idea has been diluted quite a bit on the back of more spinoffs, sequels, and forays into comics and games. This is what makes Prey very refreshing. The new mainline Predator movie goes back to time and mainly focuses on the most significant part of the franchise– the hunt.

This movie review contains spoilers for Prey.

The movie, Prey, is set in 1719 in the Northern Great Plains. It revolves around a budding Comanche hunter called Naru, played by Amber Midthunder. She desperately wants to be a leader and hunter like her brother Taabe (Dakota Beavers), even though she is a skilled healer. She is thus consistently pushing herself against the expectations placed on her. 

Naru trains with weapons all by herself and pushes herself into hunting excursions. When asked why she wants this so desperately, she simply replies, “Because you all think I can’t.” The presence of an alien compels her into that hunter or warrior role a little sooner than expected. 

However, Naru and her tribe don’t know anything about the alien, at least in the beginning. It initially appears that an aggressive lion is terrorizing them. But, observant and careful Naru is the one who understands something more is happening than a mere lion. She looks into crucial details, such as a strange green fluid and a disturbingly slaughtered snake that everyone else misses. She takes a fiery red storm in the sky as a sign that she is ready for her first-ever big hunt named ‘kuhtaamia.’

Prey is a pleasantly slow buildup for the most part to the ultimate showdown between the Predator and Naru. We get to see Natu gradually growing into herself and trusting her basic instincts when nobody else seems to believe her, of course, with the exception of her supportive brother. She is equal parts resourceful, determined, and impatient, all of which come in handy as she sorts out what exactly is going on. She helps a very adorable dog in the film who serves as her companion and thus she turns being underestimated into a strength.

On the other hand, the alien is considerably trying to test himself in this landscape that is new to him. He begins by killing small animals before moving towards bigger prey, such as bears and eventually, human beings. His prey also consists of a group of French fur trappers and some of the Comanche hunters. 

The movie’s patient plot is one of the most impressive things about Prey. Being an action film, the pacing is reminiscent of the original Predator. You will not even be able to spot the alien until around an hour in. It remains largely invisible and cloaked up until that point, poking around the edges of plains, searching for a worthy opponent. It can recognize human beings in sudden flashes of violence. 

Actions & Drama

The movie contains plenty of action sequences that are gory and gruesome. However, the movie does an excellent job of gradually testing out the main conflict. You already get an idea of Naru and the Predator coming face to face, but the movie encourages you to wait for that particular moment, thereby making it more satisfying. The Predator was menacing in this context as it had utilized a wide range of futuristic-yet-brutal weapons and gadgets to make it look basically unstoppable.

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