You know what they say: if you fail, try, and try again. Welp, here we are with another Predator movie, four years after Shane Black tried to resuscitate the franchise with the absolutely terrible The Predator. This time around, Dan Trachtenberg (10 Cloverfield Lane) goes back to basics, and back in time, to give us Prey.
Which absolutely. F**king. Rules.
Set 300 years ago, Prey pitches an alien hunter against a tribe of Comanches, as well as some not-so-nice French fur trappers. Amber Midthunder stars as Naru, a female badass who wants to be respected as one of the boys but so far has been unable to prove herself. She’s about to be able to.
Because. You know. There’s a Predator. Killing things. Including humans.
Available in both English and Comanche, Prey delivers a ruthlessly simple experience, one that has the Predator laying waste to countless individuals (and animals) in bloody, gory fashion. The kill scenes are satisfyingly grotesque, clever, and inspired. The action only gets better as the movie progresses. Trachtenberg wisely strips away the humor and treats his film seriously and the subject matter with respect.
I really liked Midthunder. She’s got the looks and the chops to pull this role off. Sure, she’s no Arnold, but maybe for the sequel she can take some steroids and do some benches.
Where Prey could have been improved was its depiction of these Native Americans, or perhaps better stated, the time period as a whole. As you might expect, Midthunder’s Naru has wonderfully shampooed hair. Her skin is flawless. Even after falling into a mud-strewn swamp, in the next scene she’s perfectly clean again. She, along with her on-screen brother (played by Dakota Beavers), look like modern young people transported back in time. They talk like it too.
It’s not too distracting, but if Trachtenberg really wanted to nail this picture, he would have been willing to play in the dirt more. Grime things up. Go for a little more authenticity. Make it Apocalypto with fucking aliens.
Even still, Prey is a badass Predator movie. Violent, gory, and increasingly intense, Trachtenberg and crew finally gives Predator fans the movie they deserve. It’s a real shame the only way to watch it is on Hulu.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.