**This is a spoiler-free review.**
I’ll be the first to admit, I was never really into the Predator franchise. Growing up, I just remember a sweaty Arnold Schwarzenegger traipsing through rainforests battling a gruesome looking alien that had futuristic weapons that killed people in various new ways. It was a typical action movie with all the typical action movie tropes. After the first two films, Hollywood would dip back into the franchise occasionally, adding another sequel and a reboot before coming out with 2022’s Prey – adding a prequel film with a female lead to the mix.
And I was intrigued, especially when that female lead is Amber Midthunder, who’s work on the Roswell, New Mexico reboot I thoroughly enjoyed. Midthunder plays Naru, a young woman who is a member of the Comanche Tribe during the 1700’s who is struggling to find her place among the male warriors of her community. Fierce, resourceful, and determined, Naru works to be taken seriously by her male counterparts throughout the film, and embraces the warrior within in order to defeat the deadly otherworldly threat of the Predator.
Midthunder’s nuanced performance does wonders for grounding the majority of the film. While there are some pacing issues at the start, once the movie gets going, it doesn’t slow down. The action and cinematography are some of the best I’ve seen in the Predator franchise, with a final climax that will blow you away. Naru is that rare final girl who uses both her brains and her brawn to fight for survival, easily joining the ranks of Halloween‘s Laurie Strode and Scream‘s Sidney Prescott in the process.
Filmmakers take slight liberties with the historical accuracies in the film, and it’s a minor inconvenience that the Comanche tribe spends the majority of Prey speaking English. However, the action and performances more than make up for these slights, including a possibly random –but welcoming– homage to the No Man’s Land scene in Wonder Woman. Prey is definitely bloody, but I’d say that the gore is kept to minimum, and it isn’t missed at all.
Overall, the film was an enjoyable watch that fits right in with the rest of the Predator franchise.
Prey premieres on Hulu on August 5th, 2022.