Starring: Amber Midthunder, Dakota Beavers, Stormee Kipp, Michelle Thrush, Julian Black Antelope, Bennett Taylor, and Dane DiLiegro
Director: Dan Trachtenberg
Well before the Predator arrives on screen, Prey is badass. Building on her standout performance in the TV show Legion, Amber Midthunder (Naru) blends vulnerability and intensity to introduce a character worthy of going toe-to-toe with the Predator. Her relationship with her tribe, especially her brother Naabe (Dakota Beavers), is a highlight that builds character and action, some of which are the best choreographed scenes in the entire franchise. Prey pays homage to the brutality of the franchise starter, but adds an emotional resonance that arguably elevates it to the top spot of the series. Plus, top tier movie dog.
I’ve never had an emotional connection to the Predator franchise, but damn if I don’t keep coming back even when it continues to underwhelm. Well, that trend has come to an end because Prey has not only rejuvenated the Predator name, but also provides numerous directions to take future projects. The claustrophobic storytelling that director Dan Trachtenberg used in the fantastic 10 Cloverfield Lane is on full display here, and it works wonderfully to create tension. But most importantly, the star of this show (as it should be) is the Predator itself. The gadgets, the precision, and the violence are all here. Well done.
Fans, rejoice! It took 35 years, but with Prey, we finally have a worthy sequel to Predator. It’s a little slow to start, but once it gets going, it’s everything the other five Predator sequels aren’t. It’s tense, propulsive, full of action, and purposefully blood-soaked, not to mention delightfully lean and surprisingly well-acted. Plus, the Comanche-ness of it all provides a fresh entry point to what is, if we’re being honest, a fairly generic plot. Most of all, though, it just feels like a Predator movie, and I applaud director Dan Trachtenberg for not trying to make it anything more than that. Now do Alien.
Despite some occasionally shoddy VFX and an awkwardly-placed title card, Prey is one of the best streaming films to come out in 2022, and it absolutely deserved a theatrical release. Director Dan Trachtenberg’s prequel to 1987’s Predator is full of heart, tension, and thrilling set-pieces worthy of not only carrying the franchise brand but evolving it. Amber Midthunder is an excellent action heroine (with a great movie dog), and the film’s score, cinematography, and sound design match that excellence. There are some elements that feel slightly unnecessary given their outcomes, but it’s not as if they don’t make sense considering the story’s setting.
Prey delivers a thrilling survival story led by Amber Midthunder that puts the Predator franchise back at the top of the food chain. It’s a bloody masterpiece! This is a Predator film done right, and is easily the best entry since the original. Even though we know all the story beats, director Dan Trachtenberg understands what made the 1987 classic so great, and he uses that to make this film feel fresh just by bringing it back to basics. Hands down, this movie should have gotten a theatrical release because it’s that good!
This is how you do a Predator movie, Shane Black! Everything I love about Predator, it’s in there. Tense atmospheric horror, the Predator absolutely ripping people to shreds, and a hell of a fun time. It also helps that Amber Midthunder makes for a badass lead, and the concept itself is pretty interesting. Its lone flaw is that it’s on Hulu and not in theaters, which really isn’t a flaw in the grand scheme of things. Point is, Prey absolutely slaps. At last, we have a worthy entry in the franchise.