'Prey' Movie Review: More Clever Than The Original

prey 2022 movie review amber midthunder 

PREY joins the elite class of sequels that are better than the original. The Dan Trachtenberg film delivers such a unique take and style that revives the franchise, and makes it the most clever film in the IP.

PREY is an origins story set in the Comanche Nation 300 years ago. Naru, a skilled hunter tracks down a mysterious creature leaving tracks when she discovers a highly-evolved alien hunting prey. PREY stars newcomers Amber Midthunder and Dakota Beavers.

The Making of the New Predator for 'Prey' with Creature Make-up Effects Supervisors and Actor Dane DiLiegro

PREY will premiere on HULU on Friday, August 5. You would think that a direct-to-streaming movie would be limited in scope and production but after watching the film twice, once on my 65-inch OLED television, and a second time at the Hollywood premiere on the large screen, the PREDATOR sequel is a high-caliber cinematic experience. It’s a shame that most viewers will experience it on their smart devices or television sets.

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If you’re a PREDATOR fan, those viewers will appreciate PREY a lot more with the constant nods to the original two films but the movie also brings in new aspects about the Predator. Much of our knowledge of the alien hunter’s history comes from the second PREDATOR (1990) movie when Gary Busey’s Man in Black character tells Danny Glover’s character that these aliens have been visiting Earth and stalking its prey for centuries. At the conclusion of the movie when Glover is in the Predator’s spaceship, we see all the relics the aliens have collected over the centuries which includes some items that show up in PREY.

When PREDATOR was released in 1987, the Arnold Schwarzenegger-led film was a refreshing take on a monster movie. The action-horror movie directed by John McTiernan (DIE HARD, LAST ACTION HERO) was original at the time but the action was your usual go-to gimmicks with lots of guns and explosions.

What PREY does is take it back to basics without the spectacle of big action scenes. Not only are the humans primitive but the Predator is also not as technologically advanced as the earlier film versions. However, the Predator does have cool tricks up his high-tech glove that will surprise viewers.

The setting and circumstance are unlike anything we’ve ever seen in a film, and a stroke of genius by writer Patrick Aison and director Dan Trachtenberg. By setting it in the 1700s in the land of the native peoples, we get to see Native Indians as skilled warriors and hunters with their primitive tools fighting a foreign threat. At that time, there were two foreigners invading their land - the French colonizers and the hunter from outer space.

Naru and the men of her tribe take on the monster with their warrior skills and primitive tools in mano-a-mano combat which makes it all the more intense. In comparison, the French colonizers are less effective with their powdered guns.

Amber Midthunder and Dakota Beavers in PreyAmber Midthunder and Dakota Beavers in Prey

Amber Midhunter is a formidable opponent and a standout in PREY as Naru. PREY sets up her character well enough to believe that Naru will no doubt outsmart the Predator, and Amber sells it. There’s never any doubt her character can take on this monster. Dakota Beavers who plays her brother and an equally effective warrior is also a revelation. Both actors are compelling in their roles for first-timers, and you’re rooting for them from the start.

The design of the primitive Predator is equally frightening as the original but the alien is a different sort of Predator species with different features and tools. Its new mask is made up of bone which gives it a much more chilling vibe, however, the height of the creature seems much smaller than its cinematic predecessors. Actor Dane DiLiegro dons the suit and his moves mimic that of a cunning warrior, more so than previous creatures who relied heavily on their weaponry to take out their victims.

The cleverness of the story continues during the credit roll which employs pictographs to over the credits so pay close attention to a post credit scene that appears within the drawings which will clue fans into what happened next.

For non-PREDATOR movie-goers, PREY stands on its own but if you’d like the additional knowledge and see how they included those clever homages in the movie, both PREDATOR and PREDATOR 2 are streaming on HULU. Or if you need a refresher course, watch the three movies back-to-back this weekend.

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