An iconic action science fiction franchise changes things up for its latest entry in Prey which will stream exclusively on Hulu. Following his directing debut in 2016’s enjoyable 10 Cloverfield Lane, Dan Trachtenberg steps behind the camera for the fifth installment in the film series. Prey serves as a prequel to their earlier films.
The screenplay for Prey marks Patrick Aison’s screenwriting debut. He takes the established story of humankind’s encounters with an intelligent race of extraterrestrial trophy-seeking, DNA engineering military personnel known as the “Predator” and sets it in the 17th century.
Set in the Comanche Nation 300 years ago, Prey is the story of a young woman, Naru (Amber Midthunder), a fierce and highly skilled warrior. She has been raised in the shadow of some of the most legendary hunters who roam the Great Plains, so she sets out to protect her people when danger threatens her camp. 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.
My first time seeing Predator was at the age of six, way back in 1987. While I do remember falling asleep early on in the film, catching the movie on HBO a year or later, I knew it was an action classic.
A great joy in my eighties life was creating sequels to Predator starring my GI-Joes. Three years later, a Danny Glover-starring sequel arrived at a lower box office and got terrible reviews. Although I never had any significant issues with the film myself. As die-hard fans know, there were two easter eggs in that film. The first was An xenomorph skull trophy from the Alien franchise. The second was an antique flintlock pistol from the 1700s.
The former easter egg led to a comic book series and the crossover films Alien Vs. Predator and Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem. While the last easter egg also had a comic book series and unproduced screenplay for a possible third film in the nineties. I’m sure the question on the minds of fans who were upset by 2010’s Predators and 2018s The Predator is, how does the latest measure up? In my opinion, it’s on par with the original.
In essence, director Dan Trachtenberg and screenwriter Patrick Aison have expounded upon the finale of the original film. Setting Prey in a time when no modern weapons are available to combat the creature makes for an enjoyable popcorn flick in the comfort of your home. That said, I want to give viewers a head up the film is a slow build. The first act of the film is somewhat of a coming-of-age story for the heroine, Naru.
In Naru’s tribe, most people look at her skeptically and dismissively. Thankfully her big brother Taabe (Dakota Beavers), a savage member of the tribe, knows that his sister can more than hold her own. I enjoyed the setup of the film, and when the Predator was revealed for the first time, it was glorious.
Concurrently while we, the audience, watch with joy as the Predator take out its first prey, Naru watches in terror. It’s a great setup for the showdown that’s sure to come. Amber Midthunder is a real find; hopefully, this film opens up more doors for her.
Prey is worth the stream by successfully mixing two genres while revamping a beloved franchise.
Final Grade: B+
Prey is available to stream on Hulu tomorrow, August 5th
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