Prey takes the Predator franchise back to it’s roots by focusing on a mano a mano fight to the death. However, what this film does even better than the original is create a compelling protagonist with a clear character arc.
Prey is set in 1719 in the Comanche nation. Our protagonist, Naru is a young woman that wants to prove herself as a capable hunter by going through kühtaamia, a coming of age hunt between a Comanche and an animal Predator. As she struggles to prove herself, she discovers through her tracking skills that mountain lions and bears (oh my) aren’t the only big game in the land.
An alien Predator has been dropped off to complete a similar hunt and inevitably clashes with Naru (and her little dog too).
Review of Prey
Prey is the fifth in the franchise of standalone Predator movies. 7th if you include the AVP movies, but let’s not talk about those.
So it’s taken 3 movies and 35 years to get back to the basic premise of a primarily mano a mano fight between an outmatched human protagonist and the Predator in the wilderness. It’s almost like someone identified what worked in the original movie, and… used that information to make a good movie.
Although very similar in plot, this isn’t a direct remake. Writers Patrick Aison and Dan Trachtenberg made some very interesting changes in the setup that further accentuate what works in the original. Instead of a roided up Arnold, we get a diminutive, yet ferocious Naru. Instead of a modern setting with giant guns and explosives, Naru only has use of primitive weapons.
Everything works with this film. Mostly it comes down to the writers and director keeping it simple. They use the tried and true hero’s journey template and add enough set piece action sequences at the right times in the story to maintain interest. The story never strays far from the perspective of the protagonist, so it feels intimate and gives the audience one person to really root for.
The writing, directing, and acting is all great. There is very little to distract from the enjoying the film. If you are a fan of the original Predator, you will really enjoy this film, but not feel pandered to.