Home Featured TV Shows All TV Shows Movie Reviews Book Reviews Articles Frequently Asked Questions About Us

Prey (2022)

When I heard the announcement that there was going to be yet another Predator movie, I rolled my eyes. Then the blurb went on further saying this was a period piece set in the 1700’s with a Comanche warrior versus a Predator. Well, mildly intrigued but there’s no way they would do that well… right? Oh, and that warrior, it was going to be a woman. Well, now I kinda had to see it, just because.

Predator is a weird franchise. The original spent most of the run time as a standard survival horror film with an invisible enemy. What sold it was the absolutely incredible creature design by the late great Stan Winston (with a small contribution from James Cameron who mentioned he always wanted to see a monster with mandibles). It would become as iconic as the Alien creature and had three sequels and two spin-offs with the Aliens franchise.

I'm a mild fan of the original, and I thought the one with Adrian Brody wasn’t too bad. However, very very rarely do we get a fifth entry in a series (seventh if you include the two Aliens versus Predator movies) that measures up. Unless you’re talking about a new creative team and a lot of love poured into the project.

This film has a new creative team and a lot of love put into the project. Directed and imagined by Dan Trachtenberg (10 Cloverfield Lane) and a screenplay by Patrick Aison (Jack Ryan) this hews closely in plot to the original Predator without being a carbon copy. Instead it focuses on a young Comanche woman named Naru played by Amber Midthunder (Roswell, NM) who wants to be a hunter instead of a gatherer.

It smartly spends the first half of the movie establishing her as a character, showing her skills, smarts and fighting abilities. It sets up the arena where the final fight will take place, and gives us a strong supporting character in her brother (Dakota Beavers in his first movie) to interact with. He is the best warrior in her tribe, but encourages her and knows that she is smarter than he is, a better tracker and more intelligent fighter when it comes to planning and strategy. I liked him almost as much as I liked her, and I hope to see more of this actor. He did a lot to make me care about him in the limited screen time he had.

There is also a dog companion, and he is adorable (I’ll put in the comments below whether the dog lives or dies in case you don’t want spoilers). This isn’t just a friendly little puppy, he is a loyal companion and capable fighter, helping Naru more than once. Their relationship is one of the highlights of the film, and it is lovely how she both cares about the dog and does her best to keep him safe but knows how to utilize his puppy skills in a fight.

The Predator in this is a bit of a proto version of the original monster. He uses homing arrow projectiles instead of plasma blasts. His cloak isn’t as perfect and his tools feel less advanced than in the previous movies. That doesn’t make him less intimidating, in fact I think I almost prefer the tools this Predator uses in some ways. There’s an aesthetic to them that gives the creature some interesting texture. His mask, for example, is made of bone, and it does a lot to give a new profile to something we know very well.

What elevates this movie even more is the absolutely jaw-dropping visuals and music akin to Last of the Mohicans (without being a direct rip-off). The sound design is fantastic, with impacts feeling weighty even without a beefy sound system. It feels like they spent some time and energy actually researching the Comanche in costuming and culture, and while there were some flaws I thought the presentation and visual effects were uniformly stellar.

Bits:

This movie is streaming on Hulu because of a lot of weird rights issues.

There isn’t a post credits sequence, but the animatic during the initial end credits does have a development if this ever gets a sequel. Also if you are in for a marathon, all the Predator movies are available on that service.

There is a Comanche language version of the film which the entire cast dubbed. The use of language in general is interesting, it is pretty clear that while we are hearing English the characters are speaking Comanche. At one point there are characters speaking French and they are not translated, even in subtitles.

There is some rather explicit human and animal death, including dismemberment and decapitations.

This was engaging nearly from the first minute, occasionally funny, very bloody and violent and honestly more fun than I expected. Was it better than the original? I think so, but your mileage may vary. Either way it was a great entry in the franchise and an honestly good movie regardless.

4 out of 4 Hunters and Prey

Samantha M. Quinn spends most of her time in front of a computer typing away at one thing or another; when she has free time, she enjoys pretty much anything science fiction or fantasy-related.

4 comments:

  1. Spoiler Warning:

    The dog does not die. However we do see an ant, mouse, snake, bear, and a wolf die pretty graphically, as well as, a shit ton of humans.

    ReplyDelete
  2. We just watched this last night. Good movie. I liked the lead actress.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I just watched the 1987 original and "Prey" on successive nights. The original was a real testosterone fueled macho fest with more guns, bullets, and bulging muscles than you could count. Bloody but fun.

    In 1987 Governator and his crew drop out of nowhere into a dense Central American jungle Vietnam style. They have have no connection to the place. It's just the arena. Central America was our enemy du jour in the 1980's. "Prey" actually has a Homeland and, as you said, puts us in it first before we get to the monster action.

    Loved your take on the monster differences. I also think they stayed away from an obviously super high tech monster because it would not visually match well with the rest of the film. Dumbing down his tech closer to Commanche level also made the battles more interesting. Maybe that's a rule monsters have before they drop onto a planet to hunt.

    One thing I liked better about 1987 monster was that there was a bit of macho warrior honor acknowlegement between Arnie and the monster right before their big fight. Kind of gave 1987 monster an aura of sentience if not humanity. Except for one brief scene with Naru the 2022 monster was basically a killing machine.

    I really loved what they did with the orange flowers in "Prey". She figured out that the monster sensed heat and the flowers cooled down a body to be invisible much like Arnie did with jungle mud in 1987. It showed that knowledge gathering herbs is an important power every bit the equal of hunting. Those flowers did as much to save the Homeland as Naru's awesome axe on a rope.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I loved this movie! I thought it was very well done and almost as good (if not better) than the first one. I initially thought how can they make it a fair fight between a Native American and a predator but they did a good job.

    ReplyDelete

We love comments! We actively monitor, and feed mean, nasty comments to our cats. It’s never too late to comment on an old show, but please don’t spoil future episodes for newbies.