On August 5th, Hulu released Prey, a new installment of the Predator franchise, directed by Dan Trachtenberg. Prey marks the 7th movie in the Predator universe, including the Alien Vs. Predator films. It’s no secret to those that have been following along with the films that there really hasn’t been a good one since arguably Predator 2 starring Danny Glover in 1990, and even that’s debatable. Prey is the latest attempt at revitalizing Predator.
Prey separates itself from previous installments by taking place in 1717 in the Northern Great Plains and follows a female Comanche protagonist named Naru, who is a solid hunter but not quite as good as her brother. She sets out to prove herself, but things go sideways when the hunter becomes the hunted.
As has been the standard, The Predator arrives on earth to hunt. The key difference here is the level of technology accessible to The Predator. He’s a much more feral and animal-like hunter, sacrificing his armor and ultra high-tech weaponry for more of a hand-to-hand approach. The Predator still sports some of the weapons we’ve come to know and love, but others are much more primitive in nature by comparison to the modern day iterations.
As mentioned, this movie centers around a Comanche tribe, and the culture of the Comanche people plays an important role in this movie. Much research was done in order to properly portray what life in a Comanche tribe may have been like in the 1700’s. A small group of the filmmakers, including Trachtenberg, were brought to a tribal pipe ceremony with the local indigenous people as somewhat of a blessing on the film. You can actually watch the movie dubbed in Comanche which, to me, made the movie more immersive. The holistic nature of medicines at the time ends up playing a major role in the movie as well.
Is Prey good?
Absolutely! The things that made this movie special, also made it good. The cultural importance and representation within the movie are awesome, but that isn’t the only thing that made this movie the first good predator movie in over 30 years. The cinematography and sound design were incredible. Often relying on natural sound and use of percussion and wind instruments, the score and ambiance lends to the movie’s immersive nature. The wide frame shots of the beautiful natural landscape reminds that the world was much more open and awe inspiring.
And, of course, The Predator’s presence in this movie is a huge part of the movie’s success. He wasn’t as tactical as previous iterations, often finding himself getting injured by things like dogs, traps, etc. That’s integral to the idea that this human warrior—equipped with little more than a hatchet, a bow, and knowledge of her world—could even stand a chance against a seven foot tall monster. Without the high-tech weapons, it becomes a story that’s even more focused on the ability and skill of the opponents.
This movie is in no way a perfect film, but it is leaps and bounds better than anything Predator related that we’ve had in a long time. The reviews at the time of this writing are generally favorable and for good reason. This film is a must watch for any Predator fan. If you go in latching onto the nostalgia of Arnold and a bunch of beefed up 80’s action guys, this movie probably won’t appeal to you. However, if you go in with an appreciation for the Yautja warriors and how they operate as a species, this movie is right up your alley!
Prey is now available to stream on Hulu.