A Hooked On Horror Review: Prey
I've been itching to see this film since it was first announced back in July 2021. Taking a step away from the disastrous 2018 film, The Predator, the latest offering in the franchise looked to go way back and focus on the Predator's first journey to this planet. Many many years before he squared off against Arnie in 1987, the film from Dan Trachtenberg pits a Predator against a Comanche tribe in an interesting turn of events. Despite a few minor flaws, the film is an incredible entry into the franchise.
A skilled Comanche warrior protects her tribe from a highly evolved alien predator that hunts humans for sport, fighting against wilderness, dangerous colonisers and this mysterious creature to keep her people safe.
I'll start this review by giving you folks just a friendly word of warning- this film is a slow starter. It takes it's time introducing the characters and establishing a well thought out and written back drop for the whole Comanche vs Predator showdown we eventually see. I actually enjoyed the slow start if I'm honest. The character development from the very beginning of the film is fantastic, you really get to know these characters and their back stories.
The film pulls focus to a pair of siblings, Naru (Amber Midthunder) and Taabe (Dakota Beavers) in a sibling rivalry, so to speak, regarding their positions/roles within the tribe. Naru is eager to become a hunter and prove her worth whilst Taabe has already proved himself worthy. I don't want to go into too much detail here, but of course everything goes south when they find out it's not just the wilderness and violent French colonisers they have to fight off. Setting the film during this time period also added a lot to the film for both the characters and the story as whole. Story was basic and straightforward, it was nothing special but it worked perfectly. For me it went back to the roots of what made the franchise great to begin with- Hunter vs Hunted.
The film is beautifully shot and edited with Trachtenberg really using the camera to show off the incredible wilderness that the Comanche tribe lived in. Whilst the special effects and CGI was great for most part, I did have a few issues during the film. It wasn't enough to put me off watching, it just wasn't as good as I've seen in previous Predator films. Now as I said above the film starts slow, but when it gets started, the foot never comes off the gas.
The second half of the film is one great action sequence after the other before ultimately concluding with a one on one stand off that even Mr. Schwarzenegger would be proud of. My favourite sequence featured the shot above; and I think it's safe to say anyone who has seen the film will agree with me when I say it's the best part of Prey.
The cast were fantastic, and that included the loyal beast of a dog Coco. Dakota Beavers was great throughout and an absolute pleasure to watch on screen. I think he may have a pretty decent career within action films if he continues as he was in this film. But as good as Beavers was, Amber Midthunder stole the show. She was incredible throughout and became more and more of a badass as the film progressed. Talk about badass female characters, she is up there amongst the greats like Sarah Connor and Ellen Ripley. She could make for a very intriguing final girl if she was to be cast in a recent slasher franchise like Scream, Texas Chainsaw Massacre or Halloween.
Now of course one of the biggest talking points of this film will be the iconic movie monster himself- the Predator. Again I don't won't to go into a lot of detail here as I don't like posting spoilers. All I'll say is it's different. If you were expecting exactly the same Predator Stan Winston created for the original 80s film, then you will be disappointed. It isn't really that much different but I admire the film makers for trying to do something a little different whilst maintaining and paying homage to the design fans have come to know and love since the original film. The mannerisms, sounds, body language and movement were spot on from Dan DiLegro. In short he made a decent Predator. You can also expect to see a few new trick, toys and gadgets from the Predator as well as a few classics that have been in the franchise for years.
So where does this film lie within my ranking of the franchise? Pretty high if I'm honest. This would be my official ranking of the films in the franchise so far.
Alien vs Predator
Alien vs Predator - Requiem
All in all a fantastic film that deserves the praise, love and attention it has been getting since its release. It took the franchise back to its roots and gave me everything that made me fall in love the original film in the first place. A fantastic blend of sci-fi, action and horror that has hopefully given new life to a franchise that seemed dead and buried following the last film. Fingers crossed Trachtenberg gets a chance to follow this film up with a sequel.
Prey is available to watch now on Hulu or Disney+