‘Prey’ Puts An Interesting Twist On The Familiar ‘Predator’ Story
By now, there have been more bad “Predator” movies than good ones, but the character retains that kind of cool, iconic monster feel that you hardly ever see these days, so when a new one comes along, people are always excited. “Prey” looks like the original movie with a twist, and while it’s been the best it’s been in a long time, it still has some issues that keep it from being great.
The story is set in 1719 in the Commanche nation where Naru is eager to prove herself as a hunter despite her people wanting her to remain a healer. At the same time, a predator lands on Earth with the goal of hunting the biggest game it can find. There are some interesting parallels in the story and while each actor plays their role well, there are no stunning performances. Naru falls into the “competent hothead” archetype where she gets ahead of herself most of the time, but is also able to handle most of what is thrown at her.
The pace is slow during the first half. Like the original “Predator,” the film makes a point of not showing off the predator too much. One thing that makes the movie much more interesting is that the Predator doesn’t have many of the high-tech gadgets he usually uses, and proves to be vulnerable when in combat. While the action scenes are good for the most part, they also include a lot of CGI which can be distracting at times and take the brunt of the violence.
One of the most imaginative aspects of the movie is that even though it’s set in the Commanche nation, the characters speak English most of the time with American accents. I know expecting a major studio to release a fully subtitled film is too much to ask, but it would have added a lot to the immersion of the film. What makes it more confusing is that later in the movie a group of French fur trappers are introduced and most of them speak French all the time. It’s by no means something that spoils the atmosphere of the film, but it also feels like a great missed opportunity.
More than that, setting aside, it doesn’t seem like this movie does enough to make it above average. The characters are good but none of them are great. Amber Midthunder as Naru and Dakota Beavers as her brother Taabe work well together, so I’d say the problem is in the script, not the actors. There are no surprising twists and things play out predictably and somewhat satisfyingly.
‘Prey’ is definitely better than 2018’s ‘The Predator’ and while it won’t wow anyone, it makes for a solid movie. The interesting premise is unfortunately executed with only average results, but hopefully that means more “Predator” movies will take risks from now on. “Prey” gets three out of five stars.