The Predator franchise returns to its roots in the newest film, “Prey”, which is a story set in 1719 and is about a young woman, Naru, who is a fierce and highly skilled warrior, but she has been raised in the shadow of some of the most legendary hunters who roam the Great Plains and overlooked in the tribe because she is a woman.
When danger threatens her camp, she sets out to protect her people, not knowing exactly what she’s looking for but knowing something is different. As once again, a Predator has visited Planet Earth for a challenge to prove itself, taking out the apex predators it finds as trophies.
As you might expect, Naru, eventually comes face to face with the Predator, leading to some confrontation between her, the Predator. There is also some additional world-building with her having issues with the other hunters in her tribe but also some fur traders, who stumble into the situation.
Coming in at around an hour and a half, this film doesn’t pull its punches and delivers a well-paced action film, that feels fun and thrilling to watch. It’s full of suspense and extremely gory moments. Moving the film back to the early 1700s, completely changes the film’s tone, stripping back the weapons to a much more fundamental level, making it feel much more authentic and much more in line with the original Predator film from the 1980s. The balance between who is prey and who is the predator shifts throughout the film, something that the Predator sequel films never managed to capture as “Prey” has. Taking the story back to basics, just drastically improves things on many levels.
One thing that really stands out about this film, is how it captures the beauty of the Great Plains. The scenery looks amazing, and much like with the original film taking place in a Jungle, the use of the forest just gives you those same feelings. Recently, 20th Century Studios released an action-packed movie, “The Princess”, which also sees a young woman standing up for her family and herself, “Prey” is much more subtle in how it deals with showing a woman is just as capable as a male, as while she might not be as strong as her brother or other members of her tribe, she is much smarter!
Something which is very impressive about this film, is how it incorporates an accurate portrayal of the Comanche, moving away from just the stereotypes and really making you care for them in their battle with the Predator. Moving the story away from the cities and having just a few main characters, means you have a much stronger connection to them. Amber Midthunder is fantastic in the main role of Naru. She is able to tell you precisely what she is thinking, just by a simple look or facial expression. There are lots of subtle ways of telling a story, without having to explain everything to the audience with words.
Overall, “Prey” is a return to form for the Predator franchise. It isn’t flashy; it’s a stripped-down battle between Naru and the world around here. It’s full of bloody action and is a throwback to those action films from the 80s and 90s, in which I grew up on. I really enjoyed “Prey” and will be watching it again, because it’s just an excellent action film that honestly, should have had a theatrical run. This is undoubtedly one of the best films to hit Hulu/Disney+ this year and the best Predator film since the original.
Rating – 4.5 Out Of 5
“Prey” is coming out on Friday 5th August 2022 on Hulu in the United States, on Star+ in Latin America and on Disney+ around the world.