The Predator returns in its most primal form.
WARNING: Mild Spoilers Below
The picturesque landscape and an unobtrusive but beautifully designed soundscape (thank you Sarah Schachner) makes this the most cinematic Predator movie yet. It’s a real shame it went straight to streaming.
A simple yet surprisingly clever and compelling plot, this movie follows the journey of Naru, a young Comanche girl on the hunt to prove herself as a skilful warrior. Unlike previous instalments, plot armour isn’t the only thing protecting our protagonist. Naru is actually smart, using her wits and ingenuity to not only outsmart our favourite extraterrestrial hunter, but to also survive the harsh and contested American wilderness. It is extremely refreshing to see a protagonist who isn’t wildly competent from the get go. We experience Naru grow organically, each interaction she has with her Comanche tribemates builds strength, while her days in the untamed wilderness only adds to her arsenal of survival skills. All of it culminating in a spectacularly visceral face off with the Predator itself.
The action sequences are brilliant, but the real genius is what comes before the Predator fully unleashes itself. There is a real thrill to the buildup of the hunt, as we see it explore a foreign Earth whilst collecting a few trophies here and there.
Director Dan Trachtenberg showcases the beast in all its glory and at its most primal form (complete with an era appropriate headpiece as well). I loved the scenes showcasing the beast’s climb up the food chain, from the quick skinning of a snake to its primal brawl with a bear. I’m really glad that they let this Predator get its hands dirty, the hits it takes from other animals builds character and confidence, and perhaps even ego. It just builds mystique and adds to its already intimidating profile.
Although the final showdown did feel a little short, the exhilarating badassary of the beast is on full display in this film. Wonderfully crafted sound design gives life and weight to the creature, from the mechanical whirring of its gadgets, to the deep pounding of its punches. Prey has not only rejuvenated my love for the Predator, but has also made it feel new again.