Harry Situation Reviews: Prey
Prey is a new science fiction action thriller prequel released on Hulu featuring the feared intergalactic hunter, the Predator. The film is directed by Dan Trachtenburg, who is known for his critically acclaimed directorial debut 10 Cloverfield Lane, and stars Amber Midthunder, actress known for her roles in Legion and Roswell. It is also the first film in the Predator franchise to have been distributed by 20th Century Studios (I still refer them as 20th Century Fox) after their merge with Disney.
The film takes place during the 18th Century on the Great American Plains. A young Comanche warrior named Naru (played by Amber Midthunder) and her tribe suddenly find themselves as hunted for sport by the dreadlocked extraterrestrial hunter (played by Dane DiLiegro). Determined to protect her tribe against this highly evolved killer, she sets out to confront it, leading into the ultimate challenge of survival to determine who is the predator and who is the prey.
I'll be honest after the shit pile that was Shane Black's The Predator I had little hope for this franchise. Also, changing the title from Predator to Prey didn't help things either. It was like they were trying to be cute or something. But I still kept an open mind, hoping that this film was at least better than The Predator. And it certainly was. Like leagues better than that shitty movie. In fact, I dare say I really liked this new Predator movie.
First positive goes to Amber Midthunder's performance. She was outstanding throughout. She doesn't have a ton of dialogue but she expresses her thoughts through her eyes. And her character Naru is great. She's a problem solver and a skilled tracker, making her a worthy opponent against the Predator. You also understand why she's trying to prove herself, to her tribe, and to her brother she is a capable hunter.
BTW: if you're bitching about the idea of a person fighting the Predator with only a bow and arrow, keep in mind that's exactly what Arnold used to fight the Predator in the first film.
Speaking of the Predator I like how this Predator is portrayed. This big guy is named the Feral Predator and watching the movie I see why. This Predator tends to fight more hand to hand rather than rely on his technology, and his tactics tend to be more brutal and savage. I also get the feeling that this is a young Predator based on how unrefined the way he hunts and kills his prey. He also seems to progress from prey to prey at the start of the film, having killed a wolf then a bear and then finally killing a bunch of French fur trappers.
The kills in the movie are great too. These kills look like they do some serious damage. It's brutal. It's bloody. There's some great sound design that make them feel juicy. It's all you can ask for in a Predator movie. Although I did find it weird at times that when it comes to violence the film seems to cut from it, almost like the editors are trying to hide the violence and give it a PG-13 rating. Luckily the stuck to their guns and kept it R-rated (as it should be) and showed off some great, nasty kills.
But the biggest praise I can give is how it recaptures the intensity and the spirit of the original Predator film while maintaining its own identity. I think the problem with the sequels is that they try too hard to be like the original, in the case of Predator 2 and Predators, or they just went completely off the rails with the idea of Predators inject autism into themselves or whatever the fuck bullshit Shane Black came up with in The Predator. This film is its own thing while still harboring the same suspense and thrills the original had. It doesn't copy the formula, it makes something of its own property. It's a perfect blend of originality and paying tribute.
Now one criticism I do have against the film is that there are times where it does feel slow, mainly in the first act. We slowly follow the life of Naru and the Comanche in their day to day life while the Predator arrives and does his own thing. That's not to say that watching how Naru and the other Comanche do isn't important. In fact, it's actually pretty cool seeing life of the Comanche on the Great Plains and done so with great respect and representation. It's just that I'm on my couch wanting to see the Comanche fight the Predator and I don't feel I should wait half an hour for that to happen in what feels like a slow burn.
And going back to the Feral Predator I gotta admit I don't like the design. The face of the Feral Predator is way too rounded and somehow they made it uglier than the original. However, I can accept the fact that this is another subspecies of Predator different from the Jungle Hunter of the original movie, much like the Super Predators from Predators. I also don't like the biomask design either. The bone structure is cool, but it exposes too much of the mouth and mandibles. But that's just my personal gripe from as a longtime fan of this franchise.
Overall this is honestly the best Predator film we got since the original film, although that's pretty low bar if you compare it to the other contenders. However it is a solid entry to the franchise and the first film in a while that actually felt like a Predator movie (at least in my opinion). Honestly, I can definitely see this having a potential for more entries like this in the future. Like an series of anthologies where the Predators are hunting humans in different periods, like Feudal Japan or World War II. There's a ton of potential in something like this, as like as Fox/Disney finds the write people who are passionate about this franchise as the fans. The movie claims that this is the first time the Predators have been on Earth but that's technically not true. The Predators have been hunting humans for over a millennium. Humans are the ultimate prey. So there is plenty of room to show how far back the Predators have been hunting humans.
This prequel is a step in the right direction for good Predator movies. Let's hope they don't turn out to be ugly motherfuckers like The Predator.
-The Feral Predator
-Has the feel of the original
-Slow burn at times
-Feral Predator's design
Final Grade: B
So those are my thoughts on Prey. Have you seen it? What were your thoughts on it? What is your idea for a Predator sequel/prequel/story? Please be kind, leave a like and comment, and check out more reviews here on Prose!
Naru: "You think that I am not a hunter like you that I am not a threat. That is what makes me dangerous."