Back to the Basics with Prey

Amber Midthunder as Naru in 20th Century Studios’ PREY, exclusively on Hulu. Photo by David Bukach. © 2022 20th Century Studios. All Rights Reserved.

When the first Predator came out in 1987 I thought it was such an incredible movie. The fact that a monster from another planet comes to Earth to hunt people was such a crazy idea that I fell in love with that world. After a few great and not-so-great sequels and some crossover movies, we finally get a new Predator movie that goes back to the basics. Prey, set 300 years ago gives us a look at the first interaction between predator and human and it does not disappoint.

Prey tells the story of the Commanche Nation warrior Naru and her struggle to be seen as an equal in her group. Naru is considered the “good tracker’ in her tribe by her brother, Taabe, but the other members only see her as a girl and too weak to go along with them on their hunt. When a member of their tribe is missing they set out to find him. When Naru joins the group a member states that she should only come along if they need someone to cook for them. While they do not believe in Naru, only her brother believes in her and her abilities to hunt. He feels she is ready for her first hunt.

What follows is us seeing Naru and her tribe trying to find their missing member and Naru finding tracks informing her that what they are hunting is bigger than a bear. While no one believes her she knows that this being is something that they have never seen before.

The great parallel here is that Predators have to go on their first hunt alone to prove their worth. This is their coming-of-age ritual. For Naru, her brother believes she is ready for Kuhtaamia, which is their coming-of-age ritual. When we see the tribe at the beginning of the movie, everyone has their role. We see that Naru not only does the appointed female roles, but she also attempts to hunt and practices with her tomahawk in the woods. When asked by her mother “Why do you want to hunt?” Her response is beautiful, “Because you don’t think that I can!” Although she is seen as less than equal to the men of her tribe, Naru wants to prove them wrong.

Amber Midthunder as Naru in 20th Century Studios’ PREY, exclusively on Hulu. Photo by David Bukach. © 2022 20th Century Studios. All Rights Reserved.

Naru decides to go out on her own to hunt this creature not knowing what it is and this is where the journey begins for all of us. The way the film is shot makes it feel like we are on the hunt with Naru. From the camera angles and the use of sound and darkness, we feel like we are in the forest trying to find what is out there before it finds us. I viewed my screener on my 17-inch laptop and I was still enveloped in this word that Dan Trachtenberg created. We are all familiar with the sounds that the predator makes but the first time we hear it in this movie it is chilling.

Speaking of chilling, throughout the first portion of Prey we get glimpses of the predator. We see their translucent outline in most scenes but the first time it is revealed to Naru is terrifying. I will just say that it involves a bear and a lot of blood. This moment is intense and it is only topped off by the first time we see the actual predator. You can see the terror in the eyes of everyone in that scene and when it lets out a scream you want to run away as fast as you can.

This predator in Prey is reminiscent of the very first one we saw in 1987. I am not talking about the way it looks, I am talking about its raw passion for hunting. The kills in this movie are brutal and unlike anything that you have seen on the screen before. This is the predator movie that we have been waiting for. This predator is a young killing machine. One of the great things about Prey is the callbacks to the other Predator movies. Whether it’s a line or an image that looks to be taken directly from one of the Predator movies, Prey knows where it came from and respects those movies.

As the predator goes on its journey to “Predatorhood (?)” we also see the growth that Naru goes through. I won’t give away much of the third act but seeing her and her brother work together is a thing of beauty. We get to see the Naru that her brother always believed in. Amber Midthunder is fantastic in this and is definitely one to watch in the future. Her portrayal of Naru ranks up there with Sigourney Weaver in Aliens, Linda Hamilton in Terminator, and Michelle Yeoh in everything she does.

Dakota Beavers as Taabe in 20th Century Studios’ PREY, exclusively on Hulu. Photo by David Bukach. © 2022 20th Century Studios. All Rights Reserved.

Final Thoughts: Prey goes back to the basics of what makes a Predator movie fantastic. From a strong and incredible female lead in Amber Midthunder to the use of sound, and great action, Prey gives us what we were missing in the last few Predator movies. This is a fun movie and will have you on the edge of your seat. Also, make sure you watch all of the end-credit animation sequence.

Kid-Friendly: We would recommend this for children 12 and up due to the attacks from the Predator. We do think this is a great movie for children due to the strong female lead, Naru.

Violence: This is a Predator movie and there is a good amount of violence. The Predator goes full throttle with his executions.

The newest entry in the “Predator” franchise, 20th Century Studios’ “Prey” is an all-new action thriller set in the Comanche Nation 300 years ago. It is the story of a young woman, Naru, a fierce and highly skilled warrior who has been raised in the shadow of some of the most legendary hunters who roam the Great Plains. So when danger threatens her camp, she sets out to protect her people. The prey she stalks, and ultimately confronts, turns out to be a highly evolved alien predator with a technically advanced arsenal, resulting in a vicious and terrifying showdown between the two adversaries. 

“Prey” is directed by Dan Trachtenberg, written by Patrick Aison (“Jack Ryan,” “Treadstone”), and produced by John Davis (“Jungle Cruise,” “The Predator”), Jhane Myers (“Monsters of God”), and Marty Ewing (“It: Chapter Two”), with Lawrence Gordon (“Watchmen”), Ben Rosenblatt (“Snowpiercer”), James E. Thomas, John C. Thomas and Marc Toberoff (“Fantasy Island”) serving as executive producers. The filmmakers were committed to creating a film that provides an accurate portrayal of the Comanche and brings a level of authenticity that rings true to its Indigenous peoples. Myers, an acclaimed filmmaker, Sundance Fellow and member of the Comanche nation herself, is known for her attention and dedication to films surrounding the Comanche and Blackfeet nations and her passion for honoring the legacies of the Native communities. As a result, the film features a cast comprised almost entirely of Native and First Nation’s talent, including Amber Midthunder (“The Ice Road,” “Roswell, New Mexico”), newcomer Dakota Beavers, Stormee Kipp (“Sooyii”), Michelle Thrush (“The Journey Home”), Julian Black Antelope (“Tribal”). The movie also stars Dane DiLiegro (“American Horror Stories”) as the Predator. “Prey” will stream exclusively as a Hulu Original on August 5, 2022.

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