A Return To Basics For The Predator Franchise

A Return To Basics For The Predator Franchise

Following the release of 2018’s The Predator, many (including myself) thought that we may never see another Predator film again. The movie didn’t exactly light the box office on fire and wasn’t perceived very well by critics or fans. Well, now, in 2022, with everything being dominated by streaming services, it should come as no surprise that Disney would be looking to add content with a character that still has some audience and that movie is Prey.

After The Predator, fans of this franchise will likely find Prey as a breath of fresh air that was sorely needed in the franchise – similar to when Predators was released in 2010 after Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem. Then again, can we even really call AvP: Requiem a movie? Could anyone see what the FUCK was going on in that movie? I recall it being too dark to see anything. Maybe there’s a good movie hidden in the darkness somewhere, we just can’t see it. I think someone actually made a cut of that film where they turned the brightness up, so I should probably check it out. Either way, that dark movie with no lighting was better than The Predator. But this is about Prey, so let’s get to it.

Prey is set in the Comanche Nation 300 years ago and is the story of a young woman, Naru (played by Amber Midthunder), fighting to prove that she can be as good of a hunter as the legendary ones that she has roamed with in the Great Plains. Well, it turns out she’s in luck – because a Predator has been dropped off nearby and is also looking to hunt.

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As someone who has been a fan of the Predator franchise for better or for worse – and let’s be honest, mostly worse – Prey does a great job of giving us a basic and easy concept like the 1987 movie. A story about the Predator on the hunt – and Dan Trachtenberg does a good job of leaving us wanting more of the iconic character, as he’s mostly hidden throughout the film. There’s a sense of tension that keeps building at the right pace.

One issue I had with Prey was that it doesn’t feel like it was written as a Predator film. It feels like something that was written and then someone decided to add the Predator into it – and while that may work, it still feels off a little bit. I could be wrong, but that the vibe I was getting. That could also be because I re-watched The Predator and forgot what a good Predator movie felt like.

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The CGI is definitely a little off in certain parts, most notably the bear scene, but overall that scene seems to work to set the tone for what is about to follow in the movie. The violence is brutal and the film definitely earns its R-Rating. The Predator also has a different design that I’m still not sure how I feel about, but given this movie is set in the 1700’s, maybe it works?

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Naru’s story in Prey is well-told and Amber Midthunder gives an emotional performance. It lets the audience connect with a character that is developed and fleshed out – something that’s been – well, you know already. It’s been missing in prior entries.

Though the film’s ending left me with quite a few questions, the back to basics approach taken in Prey is one that fans should appreciate. While it may strip the Predator of his technology that we’ve all come to know and love, it doesn’t strip the movie of action or a coherent storyline that we’ve been missing from the franchise for quite some time now.

Prey is not the best Predator film – but it’s definitely not the worst either.

Grade: C+

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