We realize the Predator bleeds and we are able to kill it. We’ve known that since Arnold Schwarzenegger took down among the alien hunters in 1987. Yet, rather than leaning harder into gritty action fare, every movie since has chosen unsatisfying sci-fi ridiculousness.
Prequel movie Prey, which found Hulu on Friday (and Disney Plus Star beyond your US), leans from a lot of that by turning the clock back again to 1719 and pitting Native American warrior Naru (Amber Midthunder) against one of these brilliant extraterrestrial creatures. It is the sort of stripped-back approach these movies were crying out for, with director Dan Trachtenberg (who previously helmed 10 Cloverfield Lane) crafting a fantastic modern undertake the initial.
We spend the first section of the movie consuming the rugged, untamed wilderness of the fantastic Northern Plains with the quietly intense Naru. The beautiful cinematography and hypnotic score ensure it is an easy task to get lost in her world as she hones her skills as a hunter, gets out of some tight scrapes and explores with her delightful canine sidekick Sarii — their bond is completely lovely.
The lone Predator can be used sparingly since it operates in parallel, establishing itself because the apex hunter. The retro versions of its other tech are fun to see, even though its iconic cloaking device still feels as though cheating.
Their narratives converge in a visceral sequence that’ll sear itself into every fan’s memory forever, and the movie grabs you by the throat from that moment on as Trachtenberg goes all-out on the action and gore.
However, the ultimate battle is drenched in the shadow of night, rendering it hard to discern what’s happening as both predator and prey unleash an arsenal of gadgets. This is practical as a contrast to the brightness and clarity of other action scenes, but may need multiple viewings so that you can parse everything.
Prey works because its protagonist isn’t the type of muscle-bound, all-guns-blazing action hero these movies are recognized for, or section of a forgettable ensemble on some vague sci-fi quest. Instead, Naru is really a clever, observant individual, and her occasionally tense relationships with her brother along with other fellow Comanche Nation tribespeople supply the movie emotional resonance. (There is no tension with her dog though. He’s perfect.)
They’re still a lot of badasses, though, wielding their bows and spears with tactical precision and moving through the forest such as a special forces squad. This type of imagery could be cliched in modern settings, but it’s incredibly visually engaging here.
We get yourself a satisfying increase in the dangers they face, too, since their beautiful environment is filled with deadly natural threats and foreign poachers (whose French dialogue isn’t translated with subtitles, cleverly giving us the sense that they are alien invaders, too). It grounds the movie nicely and accumulates to the Predator instead of flinging us directly into the sci-fi deep end.
It is also extremely cool that the movie was made byJhane Myers, an associate of the Comanche nation, & most of the cast are Native American or Canadian First Nation, suggesting an admirable commitment to authenticity. You can even watch with a Comanche dub and subtitles for full cultural immersion, however they weren’t on the prerelease version.
That is easily the very best Predator movie we’ve had because the original, with a well-developed protagonist (and her excellent dog), a rich cultural base and clever usage of an iconic movie monster. More sci-fi movies should take this sort of grounded approach, which franchise should just pit its alien hunters against humans in magnificently realized historical settings to any extent further.
For the present time though, hang in there and present Prey a wrist watch.