Basically: In the 18th century, a young Indigenous woman faces an unknown threat to herself and her tribe while no one believes her.
While The Predator is a cool concept, it doesn’t always have the best track record in execution. I’ve seen just about every Predator movie and, for what it’s worth, I feel the best cinematic versions were the first two. Those two films are utterly different from each other, which helps them stand out and stand alone. The leads are entirely different with different tactics for dealing with the eponymous alien hunter yet they face similar outcomes. Now, for the third time since Shane Black began the franchise, Prey gives us a very different and interesting take.
In Prey, we meet Naru (Amber Midthunder), a young Comanche warrior who is dead-set on taking her place as a fierce hunter in her tribe instead of the role expected of her. Some weird occurrences happen when she goes out to prove herself a warrior and protect her village from an unseen threat. I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say that danger is a Predator, considering how I started the review. Still, placing this film in the past with a group of people and culture that doesn’t get much representation on-screen is a completely refreshing setting.
Amber really shines in this film; of course, as the star, she’s on-screen the most and is excellent in every frame. You root for Naru who is shown as strong, capable, and inventive in dealing with her opponent. Dakota Beavers plays her older brother Taabe, who is excellent in his supportive and calm mentor role. Taabe is often at odds with his sister as she is so desperate to prove herself, while he wants her to take her time. The two actors play siblings believably with the right amount of older brother and younger sister energy that is palpable.
Dane DiLiegro does some great physical suit acting as the Predator. He looks massive and intimidating and brings in something new with this historical interpretation of the alien. The tech is also different and not as advanced as we’re used to on both the human and Predator sides. There are other obstacles in Naru’s adventure that add texture to the story and some stuff you might not expect as well.
I have one issue with Prey and it’s that it doesn’t get a theatrical release. For many, just streaming this on a TV, Laptop screen, phone, or tablet is fine but for me, nah. There were moments while watching that I knew I wasn’t getting the effects on the scale the filmmakers intended on my 4k UHD big screen TV. I think the film deserves better and, honestly, so do all the 20th Century Studios films.
In the End: Prey is an awesome restart of the Predator franchise featuring a fantastic new heroine with a star-making performance.