Prey will premiere exclusively on Hulu on August 5, 2022.
After the mediocre reception of The Predator in 2018, director Dan Trachtenberg (10 Cloverfield Lane, Portal: No Escape) brings the franchise back to basics in Prey… everything the way back to basics. More than 250 years before Dutch’s first encounter with that naughty ab!t¢# son, Prey finds the Predator (Dane DiLiegro) landing in the middle of the Comanche nation for a bloody trophy hunt. It’s an intriguing setup, to take a villain whose initial appearance was defined by how easily he tore through a group of beefheads armed to the teeth with guns and explosives and transpose him to a time when its targets have not even those tools to rely on. But you would be wrong to underestimate the chances of the Comanches. Prey follows the tribe’s battle for survival through a fast-paced, prisonerless tear through the Great Plains while honoring the franchise’s roots and serving as the perfect entry point for newcomers who want to see what that all this spine-ripping, laser-guided goodness is about.
At the heart of the conflict between the Comanches and the Predator is Naru (Amber Midthunder), a teenage girl who is ridiculed by her family and peers for not just harvesting crops for the rest of her life. Like her warchief father, she is a fighter at heart and determined to fulfill the Comanche hunter’s rite of passage: to hunt anything that hunts her. But even his brother Taabe (Dakota Beavers), who leads the Comanche hunters, doesn’t think that’s possible. This eats away at Naru throughout the film – especially as those around her continue to look beyond her obvious skills – and it’s this frustration that fuels Amber Midthunder’s take on the character. Naru’s fight to be taken seriously by his tribe as a warrior is a solid guideline, and that’s a good thing, because his is the only one the script takes a long time to focus on. Previous Predator films have extracted excellent material from the interplay between the characters taking on the alien hunter, and Prey’s choice to focus on Naru to the exclusion of everyone else means the side characters are drawn in a bit.
As Naru’s story kicks off, Trachtenberg weaves through scenes of the Predator ascending the food chain, which serve a dual purpose: they demonstrate his strength and technological advantage, while building tension in the run-up to his first face-off. to face. face to face with the budding Comanche warrior. It is also through these episodes that the film begins to draw distinctions between Naru and the Predator’s hunting styles, with the Predator’s overreliance on his technology providing the first clues as to how he might be bested. By comparison, Trachtenberg sets out to highlight Naru’s secret weapon: critical thinking. Whether in a fight with the boys of her tribe or hiding from the Predator as he fights his way through the Plains, Naru always listens and notices, always using a loss or setback as an opportunity. of learning. It’s a crucial and well-communicated aspect of a character that, given the significant disadvantage he faces in single combat, makes it clear that Naru is the only person capable of stopping the Predator’s rampage. Prey puts a lot of emphasis on Naru, with her at the center of almost every scene, and Midthunder more than keeps up with the fierce pace of the action as she’s constantly undermined and underrated, which makes her wins all the more more impactful. Both dry-witted, determined, and capable, Midthunder’s Naru is a great addition to the sci-fi hero canon, and that ax on a rope she throws around Scorpion-style will be the bane of security checks. of the convention for the years to come.
If you were worried that Prey set 268 years before the original would mean more rudimentary gear for the Predator, you’ll be glad to hear that Trachtenberg finds room for most of his signature weapons between the ribcages of those with the bad luck getting in his way. And the Predator’s rampage across the Comanche nation seems unbelievable: The film was largely shot on location in British Columbia, and Trachtenberg uses this vast terrain to make Naru and the Comanche feel even more insignificant next to the towering alien stalking them. The Predator isn’t the only enemy Naru faces, with a second group of invaders crashing midway, giving way to a prolonged and absolutely vicious confrontation between the three sides.
Prey’s approach to the Predator’s attacks alternates between fast-paced, tense encounters that Trachtenberg covers well (there’s a unique fight scene that’s particularly enjoyable to watch), and long, drawn-out cat-and-mouse matches. of chess in the trees where the Predator shouts “checkmate” while snapping people like twigs. Prey is shrewd in how she applies these different approaches, and even when the plot seems to be on autopilot, the way Naru’s encounters with her enemies unfold comes across as dangerous and unpredictable. Trachtenberg wisely credits the bloodiest and most brutal kills of the Predator far to the Comanches and other enemies in history, who carry more “modern” weaponry. The Predator’s advantage is significant, and with Prey serving as a rare, high-level genre platform for native culture, it may have been overkill to bask in the death of the relatively underpowered Comanche. Although the Predator spares no one, Trachtenberg films their losses with a shrewd eye, making sure their deaths are a more dignified measure than how the rest of the characters bite them.
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