“Prey” is well worth seeing on the biggest screen possible. There are plenty of monsters. This is the Prey Movie Review & Movie Summary.
“Prey” is well worth seeing on the biggest screen possible. The wide open spaces of Alberta look fantastic, there’s plenty of monster mayhem and action, and Sarah Schachner’s striking score deserves to be played through the loudest speakers available.
So, why is Disney releasing a new installment in the popular “Predator” series on Hulu in the middle of summer? This year marks the 35th anniversary of the original “Predator,” starring Arnold Schwarzenegger; what better way to celebrate than with a prequel that’s better than any of its sequels?
The marketing department could have had a field day promoting this link. So, like Disney+’s “Turning Red” before it, why is this film going straight to streaming with no simultaneous theatrical release?
Was it because director Dan Trachtenberg’s sci-fi actioner lacked major stars (aside from, of course, the Predator)? Was it because Patrick Aison’s screenplay takes place in 1719, making this a period piece? Or was it because the protagonist is a woman and her family is Native American, both of which deviate from the norm for films like this?
Given the recent cancellations of upcoming films, I suppose I should be grateful that “Prey” can be viewed anywhere, including on services to which I do not subscribe. This is not to say that streaming services are bad; it’s just that I get antsy when I recommend movies that require a contract to watch. Furthermore, this is deserving of a theatrical release.
But I’m digressing. The film “Prey” bills itself as the story of the first Predator alien to appear on Earth. This one is outfitted with slightly retro versions of the weapons used in the first film by late actor Kevin Peter Hall. However, the Predator’s mode of operation is the same: it is a hunter looking for prey trophies.
This gives the creature a kindred spirit in Naru (Amber Midthunder), a young warrior who aspires to hunt like her tribe’s males, including her brother, Taabe (Dakota Beavers).
The guys tease Naru, saying that hunting is a man’s job, but we see that she can hold her own in a fight. She’s twice as tough as she appears and three times as perceptive as the others. Naru is the first to notice the presence of a new creature on their land. Perhaps it had something to do with the blazing streak of fire she had seen earlier in the sky.
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Taabe barely tolerates Naru’s company while on the hunt for a lion that has been prowling around. Midthunder and Beavers establish an easygoing sibling relationship almost immediately in their first scenes. When the real danger appears, their bond adds to our concerns.
Naru discovers a snakeskin and prints that do not belong to a known entity. “Something scared off that lion,” she says to Taabe, but he dismisses her claim that it is a “monster from childhood stories.” Meanwhile, the Predator works its way up the animal food chain, pulling out a wolf’s spine to teach it a lesson about selling woof tickets.
Naru finally sees it when it mercilessly guts the bear that was chasing her and her loyal mutt.
The scene with the bear is so well-staged that one wishes “Prey” hadn’t already given us a good look at the Predator. An outpouring of blood paints the invisible Predator into view as it yanks the bear from its pursuit, lifting it up for the kill. Naru notices this and flees like hell.
So begins a series of expertly crafted chase scenes, with our antagonist eviscerating its victims in both familiar and novel ways. There’s also a nod to one of the best lines from the original film: “if it bleeds, we can kill it.” Bleed it does, with a neon green blood that Naru uses as war paint at one point.
A slew of uncouth French fur trappers adds another element of danger (as well as fresh meat for viewers hungry for Predator-based carnage). When Naru comes across a field of skinned buffalo, she prays over them, believing that they are the work of the monster.
Soon, she realizes that man, that other evil predator, is to blame. Despite their agreement with Naru that something otherworldly exists, the trappers are even eviler than the Predator. So don’t be surprised if they start getting splattered.
Even though there are no “choppas” for anyone to get to in 1719, “Prey” is a worthy successor to Ah-original. nuld’s Naru should be added to the list of tough characters who can stand up to the Predator. She handles all of her enemies with equal parts brains and brawn, dispatching them with gory efficiency.
Nature is also a cruel adversary, but she is prepared for that as well. The film paints a portrait of her Comanche tribe without othering them—they are the heroes of the story, and their village is alive with the community.
Even though the film is mostly in English (a full Comanche language version was apparently also shot in tandem), our suspension of disbelief is not jeopardized.
Despite the expected groans from immature males who haven’t seen the film but are already dismissing it as “too woke,” “Prey” fans will not be disappointed. It’s a frightening and entertaining amusement park ride that also elicits a surprisingly tender emotional response. I couldn’t help but cheer when Naru finally let out the war cry she had been denied. It’s a shame I couldn’t do it in front of a crowd of enthusiastic viewers.