Aug 11, 2022
By Nick Sergi
“Prey,” which released on Hulu this week, is a great movie. In fact, depending on the tastes of the person watching it, it may be better than the original “Predator” film. What makes this film work is a complete lack of unnecessary excesses. There is minimal dialogue and minimal special effects. There’s a simple story here, an A to B plot completely lacking in contrivances. When a lot of blockbusters have excesses in special effects sequences (to the point where none of them feel special anymore) and often convoluted plotlines, “Prey” is able to disregard all of those things to deliver the “Predator” movie that fans have wanted.
The premise: a Predator arrives on Earth in the 1700s to hunt (as in the other films) for sport. A young Comanche woman spots traces of this strange being and tries to hunt him to prove herself to her tribe. While this bare-bones premise is brilliant in its simplicity, the filmmakers are certainly up to the task of making it work: the cinematography is splendid, and the directing is clear. It’s been a long time since a science fiction film (let alone an IP like the Predator franchise, which has a long string of bad movies that go back almost twenty years) has been so effective when brought back to the very basics of its premise.
Even if you’ve never seen a Predator movie before (but what are you waiting for? The first Predator is the definitive 80s action flick and is unapologetic about being just that), this film can be enjoyed, even relished, completely on its own merits. The locations are fantastic. The director, Dan Thratchenburg (“10 Cloverfield Lane”), never loses a sense of space and perspective in these naturalistic locations. Even the night scenes feel transportive. Amber Midthunder, who plays the young heroine, is perfect in the role. As we see, her bravery and gut instincts are matched by her intelligence. She incorporates all she’s learned, as a healer and as a tracker, making her a cunning match for that alien being who chooses to hunt on our planet.
The only shame of it is that this film was sent right to streaming; it would have played wonderfully on the big screen.