Prey: A Refreshing Entry to the Predator Franchise

Prey successfully borrows from the iconic setup of the first Predator movie without ever coming off as a rehash. The place and time period are a refreshing change, and the action is up close and visceral. And like every Predator film, there are plenty of gruesome executions ranging from disembowelment to decapitations. 

Prey follows the story of Naru (Amber Midthunder), a young Comanche lady attempting to establish herself as a respectable warrior and hunter, which takes place in 1719 on the Great Plains of North America. A brutal game of cat and mouse between the two starts when a Predator makes its first visit to Earth, capitalizing on the energy of the first two movies while also breaking new ground in terms of structure and plot.

The film is a creative mashup of an action movie and a period piece that thrills the audience despite the lack of violence and explosives. The story contains a lot more thoughtful storytelling than the typical Predator film. The discovery of a magnificent culture in the Comanche Nation gives it a unique twist while still paying homage to the original in some significant ways.

The actors all have a strong sense of place in their characters and give the heroes of this era a new perspective. The plot moves along well, revealing to the audience the various difficulties that people in the Northern Great Plains in the 18th century encountered.

Prey succeeds because its lead character isn’t the hulking, gun-toting action hero these films are known for. Instead, Naru is a perceptive, intelligent person, and the emotional impact of the film comes from the connections she has with her brother and other members of the Comanche Nation tribe.

Speaking about the downsides, the first act of the film focuses on Naru and ends up overstaying its welcome. Trimming the first half of the film especially the hunting sequence would have made this film more engaging. Additionally, the CGI in the film wasn’t the best but credit must be given to the practical effects used for the predator.

The fact that Jhane Myers, a Comanche, produced the film and that the majority of the cast members are Native Americans or members of Canadian First Nations suggests an outstanding commitment to authenticity.

Predator (1987) starring Arnold Schwarzenegger is a bonafide classic that is considered the best film in the franchise. The rest of the Predator sequels have been largely been received as mediocre or underwhelming – which is why Prey is a breath of fresh air to the franchise. The Predator movie franchise has grown considerably with five solo pictures and two Alien vs. Predator crossovers. 

This is unquestionably the best Predator film since the original thanks to a strong protagonist, a deep cultural context, and a recognizable movie monster. Moving ahead, it will be interesting to see if the series puts extraterrestrial hunters against humans in gorgeously recreated historical settings.

Prey is now available for streaming on Hulu.

Final Verdict: 3.5 stars (out of 5)