I have no idea what sort of strange process has led a blockbuster-caliber Predator movie, Prey, to land itself an exclusive debut on Hulu, of all places, but regardless of where it’s premiering, that has nothing to do with its quality.
And this is an absolutely phenomenal movie. Prey is easily the best Predator movie since the original, and there have been a lot of attempts to replicate the success of the first one, from standalone features to face-offs against Xenomorphs.
The timeline here has taken a sharp turn, sending the series 300 years into the past where a singular Predator has come to earth to hunt what else, other predators. While he starts small, snakes, wolves and such, he soon learns that the most dangerous game is man, naturally.
We are in America in the early 1700s, and the main focus of the story is Naru, a Comanche woman who wants to be a hunter, not a gatherer, and her brother, Taabe, who is the pride of his tribe for his ability to slay anything out in the wild. Danger lurks nearby as French trappers are starting to harvest game for skins, and only Naru seems to understand that an even greater threat looms, the mysterious, unseen, intergalactic stalker.
I cannot speak highly enough about the two central performances from Prey’s indigenous actors, Amber Midthunder and Dakota Beavers, where this should be a star-making turn for both of them. They have effortless amounts of presence and charisma in a movie that, by all accounts, could have easily been terrible, but between their performance, the solid script and director Dan Trachtenberg, they have created a new genre classic and a worthy entry in a series that seemed like it had run out of steam for a few decades now.
The action here is top notch, sufficiently brutal and it reminded me so much of Bone Tomahawk that I had to look up and see if it was the same director (that was S. Craig Zahler, Trachtenberg did 10 Cloverfield Lane). It’s a breezy watch that doesn’t overstay its welcome at just an hour and forty minutes, and has probably one of the coolest versions of the Predator itself we’ve seen across these movies, in addition to its fantastic human cast.
Is it better than the original? It’s hard to say. It’s a classic, but nostalgia does some amount of work here looking back, and I can’t say for sure because I haven’t seen Arnold’s version in probably 15 years. But it’s great, regardless, and features some fun nods to the original that fans will catch as they watch.
All the stars aligned to make Prey a phenomenal movie, Hulu exclusive and all. This would have been a wild ride in theaters, but it’s still great at home, and I’d argue it’s must-watch for any action, sci-fi or of course, Predator series fan. Would like to see more from everyone involved in this, please.