Ever since 1987, an alien with a gaping maw and some pretty killer technology had captured our hearts and minds, right before skinning us and removing them. The first movie in what has become the Predator franchise was filled with action, insane one-liners and super buff dudes that would one day become politicians, oddly.
The following films after that, well they left a lot to be desired. Not even Xenomorphs could save the franchise’s choices. Then along came Prey, distributed by Hulu, almost out of nowhere. I remember seeing a trailer a while ago but then the only Prey on my mind was the Arkane Studios and Bethesda game.
After actually watching the film, it looks like the original may have to run for its money.
Is Prey the best Predator film?
Prey (directed by Dan Trachtenberg) is a prequel of sorts but don’t let that fact dissuade you. In terms of prequels, this might be the best I’ve ever seen. Also, in terms of Predator movies, this may be the best I’ve ever seen.
The story follows a young Comanche woman named Naru (Amber Midthunder). This is America in the early 1700s which means a lot of beautiful land and even more colonists screwing it up for everyone. Naru is practicing every day to take her final test as a hunter and provider for the tribe, even against the naysayers like her brother Taabe (Dakota Beavers). The test is hunting something that can hunt you right back.
While practicing her skills, Naru sees strange lights at the border of their land. When a member of the group goes missing, Naru insists on joining the hunters to find him because of her knowledge of medicine. While the whole group thinks the culprit is a mountain lion, all signs along the way point to something a lot more dangerous.
Of course, we all know it’s a Predator guy but this movie is more than your standard dudebro action film with oiled muscles and bullets flying through the air. This is a smart and beautiful coming-of-age film that touches on the damage of colonialism in America that also happens to have a wicked cool looking alien that can literally tear people apart. You know, it has something for everyone.
The inclusion of cultural information and the language of indigenous peoples was just as interesting as the more action aspects of the film. Even the quiet moments of silence and scenery were enjoyable. Prey is gorgeous in every aspect: the people, the environment and even the design of the Predator itself. While it has all the telltale marks of a Predator, including the gnarly mouth, this one looks like it fits in with the world, even with all of its technology.
The character developments of both Naru and Taabe were full and layered and done so intelligently. First Nation actors were cast in the Comanche tribe roles which is a breath of fresh air in Hollywood. Representation is important. There were many nods to Predator and Predator 2 which were subtle but any fan of the franchise will see them and smile. Camouflage against the Predator is important and the way it was done that didn’t include just recycling tropes from the past gives it an A+ in my book.
I’m not sure I can recommend Prey enough. It’s visually beautiful, full of layered stories and environments and it has a completely badass female lead that is even tougher than maybe even Dutch, himself.
You can watch Prey now on Hulu.