Prey (2022) Non-Spoiler Review!
After the major disappointment from 2017's The Predator, and prior to that, the AVP films, I practically gave up on the franchise. But now with 2022's PREY, the prequel to the Predator films, my faith has been somewhat restored!
Amber Midthunder headlines this movie as a young medicine woman Naru, who aspires to become a hunter/warrior that can hold her own against the "good ol boys" within the Comanche warrior tribe. During a hunting expedition, she sees a ship crashing from the sky, and refers to it as an omen, "Thunderbird." It's an "omen" alright. As in a dire warning of the danger that is yet to come.
Prey may look as if it was shot on a lighter budget scale, however it feels like a very organic thriller, as with the previous films, emphasized on part action and all survival horror. For not only is Naru pitted against the alien hunter from beyond, but the surrounding environment which can be very hostile when you factor in; Quciksand, Wolves, lions, and bears "Oh, my!"
The pacing during the first portion, was a bit janky but the film gains further traction during the second half, and while I won't drop any spoilers, there are segments that demonstrate Naru's bravery, resilience and how resourceful she is capable of when faced against the odds. Sure, there is that subtle meta of a female underdog being scoffed at, by the Alpha male culture only to rise against the odds, but the narrative is not to be misconstrued for virtue signaling. This Predator, is the same as the previous aliens, he kills only those who arm themselves with weapons giving credence to him having a code of honor. The Predator design, and arsenal may seem “primitive" or rudimentary, however, this makes plenty of sense as the storyline takes place during the 18th century. (There are a few a Easter Eggs including an "artifact" that only Preddy fans can identify.)
I admire the fact, that there weren’t any technological advanced weapons, or gadgetry from the predator's arsenal, which lends more credibility toward the film's setting. Again, a very organic approach both figuratively and literally, especially when the scenery showcases the majestic landscape with lush mountains. PREY's conclusion was a bit formulaic like a callback to several horror finales that makes me wonder if there will be a sequel that involves both Confederate and Union soldiers forced to work together against an uncommon enemy? Who knows?
Overall, I enjoyed Prey for what it was, and got my time and especially Money's worth after watching it on Hulu's streaming service. No hour commute to the theater, no noisy audience or long lines to the Men's room. Now that I realized that there's also a Comanche language dub, this would be my preferred version, as opposed to the English dub.
overall, Prey breaths new life in what was a dying franchise. As a fan of the first two films, (That's right, Predator 2 was great!) I'm glad to see Fox, um, "20th Century Studios" bring back their A-game!
Now You Know: A FPS videogame released in 2007 also titled "Prey" featured an abducted Native American protagonist, who fights against his alien captors.