Review: Prey on Hulu | Houston Press


Title: Prey

Describe this movie using a The Simpsons Quotation:

MR BURNS: Some men hunt for sport, others hunt for food.
The only thing I’m looking for
Is an outfit that looks good

Brief plot summary: For once, the whites aren’t the Comanche’s biggest problem.

Ranking using random items relevant to the movie: 4 out of 5 Chris Hansens.

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Slogan : “The hunt begins.”

Best Tagline: “Time for payback.”

Not-so-brief plot synopsis: As if aspiring to be the only female warrior in her tribe wasn’t enough, young Comanche Naru (Amber Midthunder) must battle French fur trappers, rogue bears, and worst of all: an alien trophy hunter, aka predator. (Dane DiLiegro), who settled on Naru’s playground.
“Critical analysis: Few experiences are more relevant than rubbing shoulders with the expectations of your so-called best. In this regard, the work of Dan Trachtenberg Prey is more than just the latest installment in a venerable sci-fi franchise, it’s also the first to tackle more universal themes.

Although it is admittedly debatable how universal the fear of aliens is.

As a youngster (even living 300 years ago) trying to make his way, it’s easy to sympathize with Naru. It doesn’t hurt either – unlike the previous ones predators – she doesn’t start out as a consumed badass, to the Arnold Schwarzenegger or Danny Glover. Naru is still learning to compete with her tribesmen, and though she has earned the grudging respect of her brother Taabe (Dakota Beavers), she still struggles against traditional tribal roles, as well as the insults of established warriors.

It’s up to… well, you know.

If you’ve seen the first trailer for Prey and thought maybe it was a mistake to let the cat out of the bag as far as the villain goes, you’re not alone. Of course, he was spoiled in other ways (Deadline leaked the news in late 2020), but just imagine watching this movie in a packed theater when the Predator was finally gloriously revealed?

Oh that’s right: Prey isn’t another bloated MCU cash grab, so it won’t appear in theaters. Thanks to the terms of Disney’s acquisition of 20th Century Fox and the latter’s prior agreement with HBO, a theatrical release would have been accompanied by a streaming release on HBO. Disney, not wanting to repeat the New Mutants fiasco, chose to send Prey directly to Hulu.

Which is a shame, because Prey is exactly the kind of movie to experience on the big screen. Cinematography by Jeff Cutter captures the vast landscapes and impenetrable forests of Naru’s house, accompanied by Sarah Schachner’s catchy score and highlighted by truly gripping action sequences.

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Director Trachtenberg (10 Cloverfield Lane) was clearly aiming for a big-screen experience, and its shot choices show it. There’s a big one of Naru confronting a mountain lion in a tree, for example, and the scene where she leaves camp to hunt, literally going against the grain of the other women in the tribe as they return to the fields.

Also? Sounds like this Predator is some kind of asshole (or more, depending on how you feel about it). Previous installments had him pitted against… well, not comparable armed opponents, but at least opponents equipped with modern weaponry. Naru and his people are not highly trained special forces or aggressively armed LAPD officers or mercenaries from Shanghai; they have bows, arrows and spears. It’s about as sporty as deer hunting with a gun, basically.

But then, that’s kind of the point. Trachtenberg may telegraph some plot machines early on, but arguably the best part of any Predator movie is watching our heroes learn to fight back and set their plans in motion, and Naru does it to satisfying effect.

It’s been a long time since we’ve had a Predator movie worth getting excited about (and the least said of the AvP the better), but Prey is a tense and imaginative experience, and it rises above the majority of its predecessors thanks to a central character who is compelling in her own right. Amber Midthunder is the best thing to happen to this franchise since Topher Grace bought it in predatorsand while it’s probably too much to hope for a follow-up, she and Trachtenberg gave us the best Predator from the origin.

Rank them:
Predator (1987)
Prey (2022)
Predator 2 (1990)
predators (2010)
The predator (2018)

Prey is now streaming on Hulu.


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