Prey (2022) Movie Review – The best Predator movie in years

The best Predator movie in years

The original Predator was one of the finest action movies of the 80’s and it is still highly regarded by many people today. The sequels? Not so much. Predator 2 was a bit of a disappointment after the Arnold Schwarzenegger original and the movies that followed failed to match the power of the testosterone-fuelled hit that started it all.

So, what about Prey? This prequel movie bypassed theatres and went straight to streaming, which is rather strange considering the popularity of the franchise. Is this indicative of the movie’s overall quality? Thankfully, no. While Prey isn’t quite as good as Predator, it’s still a decent watch and is arguably better than the sequels that followed on from the 1987 movie.

Prey takes place in 1719, centuries before Arnie and his military rescue team came face-to-face with the technologically advanced alien. This time, it’s up to Comanche tribe member Naru (Amber Midthunder) to take on the extra-terrestrial invader but her chances of survival are even slimmer than they were for the group in the original movie who were stronger than her in both firepower and muscle strength.

Thankfully, Naru is an able warrior, despite being smaller in stature than the Predator she finds herself up against. The male members of her community aren’t convinced of this but they soon realise their error in judgement when she proves to be smarter and more skilled than any of them in combat against this strange new threat. As the movie runs its course, the tribe starts to dwindle in size as the Predator takes each person out with ruthless efficiency, and it’s eventually left to Naru and her faithful dog Sarii to take down this fearsome foe.

In the first half of the movie, there is very little Predator vs hunter action. Instead, we are introduced to Naru and the patriarchal structure of her community and are drawn into her struggle to prove her worth outside of domestic servitude. When the Predator does arrive on the scene, it’s a while before it takes on any human foes as bears, wolves, and other forms of wildlife are the first to encounter the alien and its specialist set of skills.

Despite the lack of any real combat, these initial scenes are integral to the story as they showcase both Naru’s plight and the Predator’s quest to find the dominant species on the planet. We learn more about Naru and her battle to fight for equality (a fight that has never really gone away) and we discover more about the Predator’s abilities as it hunts its prey for sport rather than for survival purposes.

The alien vs human combat, when it does eventually come, is raw and brutal, as the indigenous people of the land take on the being that is quite unlike anything they have encountered before. They are as underpowered as you might expect, which is partly the cause of their downfall, but as they have trained themselves to fight on regardless, despite the power of the enemy, they aren’t prepared to back down.

Director Dan Trachtenburg (10 Cloverfield Lane) handles these scenes of action well, without the need for slow-mo or other directorial flourishes to ramp up the levels of excitement. Combat is swift and well-constructed, even though the outcome of most fights is never really in question, as it soon becomes clear that rushing in for the kill isn’t the right answer.

Naru realises this and as any good hunter does, starts to spend more time observing the Predator and its movements before making a plan of attack. In this age of superhero movies and Taken-knockoffs where the heroes spend more time punching their way to victory instead of using their brains, Naru’s decision to slow down and chart her enemy’s weaknesses before going on the attack is quite refreshing.

Sadly, the movie has a relatively short run-time, which wouldn’t be a problem if the movie had featured more scenes of human vs Predator action. But as a good portion of the movie is spent exploring the dynamics of Naru’s tribe and their interactions with the land around them, there isn’t enough time for the full-blooded alien encounters that I wanted. If the run-time had been extended by 30 minutes or so, the movie may have been better balanced.

Still, this is my only nit-pick as this is still a decent movie. The Predator is as intimidating as it ever was and remains an unnerving presence due to its ability to remain invisible while stalking its prey. Naru’s story is an interesting one as she fights not only to save her tribe but to also prove her worth to her community. And the confrontations that do take place between the Predator and its various adversaries are suitably bloody and heart-pounding.

So, while this isn’t quite the movie that I hoped for, it is far more intelligent and thought-provoking than the sequels that have come before. And as the closing credits suggest a further encounter between Naru and the Predator race, it might be that a sequel could provide the extended scenes of combat that are sometimes lacking in Prey.

 

Read More: Prey Ending Explained


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  • Verdict - 7/10
    7/10
7/10

18 thoughts on “Prey (2022) Movie Review – The best Predator movie in years”

  1. Hey Chris

    I haven’t started Season 3 of The Orville yet but its on my list of things to watch. I’m currently watching Night Sky, a slow-burning sci-fi drama with Sissy Spacek and JK Simmons, and Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, which is (to date) a bit of a disappointment.

    Re The Sandman, it’s based on a graphic novel series by Neil Gaiman. Check out Greg’s review as that should give you some insight – https://www.thereviewgeek.com/thesandman-s1review/. If you like fantasy, you might get a lot from it. I enjoyed it and am hoping for a season 2.

    I currently subscribe to a few streaming services but it is getting expensive. Like you, I should probably cancel when I have run out of things I want to watch!

    I’ll check out Evil if I can track it down. thanks for the heads up!

  2. Hi Lee,

    I hope you’re enjoying ‘The Orville.’. When you get around to it you’ll find Season 3 a little different as it’s more focussed on action and drama, and is a little less on jokes

    It’s a very good third Season but I personally miss the prominence of the humour that defined the first two. Season 3 starts to remind me a little too much of the likes of ‘Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.’.

    I also recently discovered a pretty good Supernatural Drama Series (which also has a [very] little subtle humour in it) called ‘Evil.’ starring Katja Herbers, Aasif Mandavi and Mike Colter. I think it’s worth a look.

    I’ll give ‘The Sandman.’ a look too sometime soon. I’ve seen the trailer and it does look quite creepy.

    But since I’ll no doubt have to subscribe to a streaming service in order to watch it, perhaps you could tell me a little more about it (no spoilers please!) so that I can make my mind up before I go spending yet more money on a subscription?…

    I’m starting to fall into the slightly annoying habit of finding new Seasons of shows that I like, on streaming services, subscribing or re-subscribing to them, watching the Seasons and then cancelling my subscriptions.

    Then again maybe this is the habit that I’ll have to get used to if I want to keep up with my favourite shows.

    Best Regards,
    Chris Rasdale.

  3. Hey Chris, I will let you know if I spot a CD. Like DVDs, they are becoming more of a rarity these days!

    I saw the first two seasons of The Orville and am trying to get through a few other shows on my watchlist before I see season 3. Too many shows, too little time! I have just finished The Sandman on Netflix, which I recommend if you like fantasy and the works of Neil Gaiman!

    Best wishes

  4. Hi Lee,

    I’ve almost finished Season 3 of ‘The Orville’. – which if you haven’t seen it I highly recommend due to its obvious ‘Star Trek.’ vibe, but with a more comedic tone.

    Then I’ll do one more viewing of ‘Prey.’ this evening before saying goodbye to Disney+.

    Finally; I’d Iove to get the ‘Prey.’ Original Music Score by Sarah Schnacher on CD, but so far all I can find is a digital download on Amazon. So please do let me know if you happen to come across it on CD

    Bye & Best Regards Lee,
    Chris Rasdale.

  5. I don’t think any of the Predator sequels (with the exception of Prey) have been particularly good. They have been passable in terms of light entertainment but none have reached the classic status of the first. Trachtenburg has managed to buck the trend so I do hope he returns.

    Once again, thanks for your thoughts.

  6. Thanks Chris. Enjoy your last few days of Disney πŸ™‚

    I look forward to reading your response to other movies and shows that are covered on this site. I have enjoyed your responses to Prey.

    Until the next time.

  7. Finally Lee,

    I’m going to finish catching up with Season 3 of ‘The Orville.’ on Disney+ and then I’ll no doubt watch ‘Prey.’ once or twice more before I close my subscription. I’m going to miss having instant access to ‘Prey.’ but I reckon it’ll only be a couple of months before it comes out on 4K blu ray.

    What’s the betting that I’ll restart my subscription to Disney+ after not too long, just so that I can watch ‘Prey.’ again?!

    Best Regards,
    Chris Rasdale.

  8. Hi Lee,

    As I said in a previous post I really like ‘Predator.’, ‘Predator 2.’ and the superior Unrated Cut of ‘Alien Vs Predator.’

    Although I have seen them all I don’t watch the other movies in the franchise. Without going into huge detail; for me the other films in the franchise either lack suspense or have too many other creative failings like uninteresting characters, bad cinematography or sick violence.

    From that description, your own preferences notwithstanding, you can probably figure out which negative applies to which film(s).

    I remember that I watched ‘The Predator.’ a second time a few months after my first viewing of it in order to try to give it a second chance – and it was just as bad second time around!

    ‘Prey.’ has finally brought the franchise back on track and as I said previously, I really hope that Dan Trachtenberg is allowed to keep hold of the creative and directorial reigns in the next films. The franchise badly needs a singular vision and I reckon Trachtenberg is our boy!

    I’m still a bit torn as to whether Naru should be brought back. My head says ‘Yes’ but my heart says ‘No’, for the reasons that I suggested in one of my previous posts. Ultimately I think I’d prefer to have Naru only spoken of in reverential tones in the next film so that she acquires mythical status.

    I’ve just realized that I find ‘Prey.’ so utterly mesmerizing because for me it’s Iike watching an adaptation of an old Native American Myth.

  9. Hi Chris

    Good to correspond with you too. Sadly, I have never written a screenplay but I do have a published short story and I have written scripts for plays, so I do have some credentials! Clearly you do too! Hollywood would be missing the next great screenwriters if they failed to give us a shot so for the sake of the future of cinema, here’s hoping somebody is reading πŸ™‚

    What are your thoughts on the other Predator movies?

  10. Hi Lee,

    I really like your idea of using one of Naru’s forebears in the next film. I think it could be made to fit quite easily into my idea of setting the next film during the American Civil War.

    I wouldn’t necessarily like to see Naru taken to the Predator homeworld and I doubt it would happen anyway. I think it would take the franchise back to the kinds of Predator films that we’ve seen before and I don’t think that’s Dan Trachtenberg’s intention for the sequels to ‘Prey.’.

    Although having said that; I’ve been waiting for years for a Predator movie that’s set on their homeworld and I don’t understand why it hasn’t been done yet. I really want to see the homeworld that was briefly glimpsed at the beginning of AVP: R.’. – which unfortunately I think was the just about only good thing about that entire movie!

    It’s a small point but there’s one thing about the Predator that I’d like Dan Trachtenberg to get rid of when he makes the sequel to ‘Prey.’ – that fiery glowing red outline that appears at the edges of the Predator’s cloaking effect. There’s just something about it that sometimes doesn’t sit all that well with me. To me it looks like the Predator’s cloaking device isn’t working properly!

    I did like the new cloaking effect on the whole though. Although as some people have commented and they may have a point; perhaps it does at times reveal a little too much of what’s underneath the cloaking? I’m not personally convinced of that though – I’m just playing devil’s advocate.

    And I agree entirely with you about the superiority of physical 4K over streaming 4K. That’s exactly why I want ‘Prey.’ to get a physical release.

    Even though you were (I assume?) joking I think that you may be on to something about Dan Trachtenberg hiring us to write the screenplay for the sequel to ‘Prey.’. I actually did a Film Studies degree some years ago during which I did a module on screenwriting – and I was pretty good at it, if I say so myself! Although they were just short pieces and I don’t know if I could write a whole feature length movie.

    I don’t know how much experience you have of screenwriting but nevertheless I suspect that Dan Trachtenberg might just have the ideal writing team if he were to take us on and allowed us to put our heads together to see what we could come up with. Well, maybe…

    Maybe instead of setting the movie during the American Civil War we could set it during the later Sioux Wars and we could rewrite history by having George Armstrong Custer killed by a Predator during The Battle Of The Little Big Horn!!

    OK, bad idea.

    Still; I reckon we could split the writing tasks with you focussing on the Sci-Fi elements and really blood-soaked Predator-Human fights, and me focussing on the earth-bound historical & cultural stuff.

    Let’s write to Dan Trachtenberg and ask him if he’s interested… Just kidding!

    I’d better make this my last post otherwise I’ll find myself sitting down to write an entire Predator movie and sending it to Hollywood as a Spec Script!

    One final thought… I wonder if we might one day get a Director’s Cut of ‘Prey.’, with the extra fighting that you want and the extra scenes set in the Comanche camp that I’d like to see?

    It’s been great fun corresponding with you Lee!

    Very Best Regards,
    Chris Rasdale.

  11. Hey, thanks for your reply. If Dan Trachtenburg is reading this, maybe he should consider hiring us as screenwriters πŸ™‚

    The American Civil War would be interesting as a backdrop. I don’t think there has been any information about a new film yet but I would be surprised if it didn’t happen. If they decide not to focus on Naru, they could pay tribute to her with a movie about one of her ancestors taking on the Predator. Or maybe a movie about Naru visiting the Predator homeworld. If the Predators see her as a worthy adversary, they could transport her from Earth to their world. Whatever they do next, I just hope its not a rushed cash-in.

    A blu-ray edition of Prey is expected I think – according to something I read online – but there isn’t a release date yet. 4K discs are superior to 4K streaming I believe so it would be great to see Prey get a release.

  12. Hi Lee,

    Thanks for your new response. This is really fun pondering the future of the franchise!!

    I take your point. No doubt loads of people (including me in a way) would love to see Amber Midthunder return as Naru, and as you say the end credits animation does hint quite heavily at a further Predator invasion.

    However my fear is that a sequel that is a direct continuation of ‘Prey.’ could easily stretch credulity. Not to mention being little more than a retread.

    I doubt that neither the inhabitants of Naru’s camp even if they banded together, nor certainly Naru alone could defeat either a single bigger Predator, and definitely not a group of Predators. Not with just bows & arrows and spears!

    Unless of course they banded together with the French fur trappers?… But I have to wonder whether even that couldn’t be made to work with any semblance of historical believability.

    All of which makes me realize as I’m writing this, come to think of it, that I’m really disappointed that Raphael Adolini was killed off so quickly and easily in ‘Prey.’. I think that did a character that ‘Predator’ franchise fans have been waiting such a long time to see, a great disservice. He should be a Hero in the franchise, not such easy prey!

    Anyway I really think the best thing now is to not risk a lesser follow-up featuring Naru.

    Instead move the timeline on and perhaps have Naru verbally referred to most reverentially in the next film as someone who once defeated a Predator, and then maybe died heroically whilst defending her people during the next Predator attack.

    I think that would be a nice way to honour the character of Naru and cement her as a hugely important character in the franchise, better than any direct continuation of ‘Prey.’ could.

    Ultimately I think ‘Prey.’ is such a wonderful film that Naru’s life shouldn’t be revisited and that ‘Prey.’ should be left to stand as a towering example of how to make a great ‘Predator’ film.

    I admit Lee that when I say all this I am pushing the idea of the next film being set during the American Civil War!

    To me it just seems like such an obvious choice and it could also involve the Comanches again in some capacity. As long as the screenplay is written with as much thought and care as ‘Prey.”s screenplay obviously was.

    In that regard I have to say that with every viewing of ‘Prey.’ it amazes me just how well all of the action knits together so smoothly, and doesn’t leave you with the niggling feeling that certain things don’t make sense.

    Anyway I’m not going to be writing the next films so who knows where the franchise will go? But I still think that my ideas about the next two films make the most sense!!😁 So I hope Dan Trachtenberg reads this!

    All I can do now is to wait patiently for ‘Prey.’ to be released on 4K blu ray.

    l haven’t read anything pertinent to the question yet but I sincerely hope that ‘Prey.’ doesn’t end up being one of those streaming productions that never gets a physical release.

    Finally; I recently read online that actor Bennett Taylor, the actor who plays Raphael Adolini, has voiced some interest in playing the character again in a prequel to ‘Prey.’.

    Maybe that would be the way to go. It’s definitely a film I’d like to see.

  13. Hi Chris

    Thanks for your reply.

    You’re right about the movie’s final confrontation – it was a bit anti-climactic. The Predator was dealt with too easily and quickly. This is partly why I wanted a longer running time so more time could be spent with the battle. It’s still a good movie but I was left with wanting more. I suppose this could be a good thing though as it raises interest in another Predator movie.

    As for the direction of the franchise, I am not sure. I think a direct follow-up to this movie would be good, with Naru facing a bigger Predator threat. The end credits suggest the possibility. I guess the opportunities for further battles in time are endless as there are all kinds of time periods that could be considered. Whatever they do next, I hope they maintain the quality of Prey instead of making a quick cash-in to capitalise on its success.

    Thanks again for getting in touch πŸ™‚

  14. Hi Lee,

    I’m glad you enjoyed reading my review and having offered my ideas about the directions that future sequels could go in, I’d be very interested to read your take on that question.

    Also; there’s one final comment I’d now like to make about ‘Prey.’ which I didn’t mention in my review because I didn’t, and frankly still don’t quite know, what to make of my reaction.

    It’s about the penultimate scene, in which Naru finally kills the Predator. I wonder if I’m the only one who finds it a bit anti-climactic? But having thought about it I think I may know why…

    My theory is that because the movie makes Naru’s tactics with the Predator’s face mask so obvious, when the arrow does a circle around the trees and kills him – there’s no surprise, because it’s all been telegraphed too much.

    In ‘Predator.’, ‘Predator 2.’ and ‘Alien Vs Predator.’ – which by the way are my favourite Predator movies, there’s at least some (admittedly very modest) element of surprise as to how and when the Predator gets killed, and for me it’s missing in ‘Prey.’.

    Either that or I just don’t like the fact that this exceptional film has come to an end!

    Anyway that’s one final point that I should have added to my review.

    Best Regards.πŸ™‚πŸ––

  15. Hey, thanks for your comments and your review. You’re completely right about viewing preferences – we all differ in our opinions and movie-going needs. I felt the movie needed a longer running time to balance out the moments featuring the tribe and their dynamics and the alien encounters later on. It seemed to take a while before the encounters took place although it might be that my mind changes with a second viewing.

    Really appreciate your feedback though and your own critique of the film. I will likely watch it again soon as it was a quality entry in the franchise.

  16. Having read Lee’s review, the vast majority of which I completely agree with, I’m once again reminded of the fundamental fact that any movie review is often far more a reflection of the reviewer’s film viewing preferences than it is the quality of the movie under review.

    If there’s one point that I tend to disagree with Lee on, it’s the idea that there aren’t enough ‘…full-blooded alien encounters…’. on balance I think there are just enough of them and that any more might be overkill.

    However I would also say that during a few of the Predator’s heart-stopping encounters with the unfortunate humans, the action is cut together so fast that one can’t quite see how the kill is achieved or how the maiming is done.

    There were a couple of moments during my first viewing of ‘Prey.’ when I found myself hitting the rewind button and then using frame-advance in order to see exactly what happens. With a well edited movie I don’t think one should have to do that.

    Another small point that’s just come to mind about ‘Prey.’, which may have been down to budgetary restraints, is in regard to one wide shot during the Comanche Warriors’ first big encounter with the Predator.

    As the Predator is pulling his metal arrows out of his first victim’s dead body you should definitely be able to see the Predator’s cloaked outline standing next to the body. The arrow floats about in the air but there’s quite obviously no cloaked Predator there!

    I can’t help wondering whether that was a terrible oversight on behalf of the people doing the CGI rendering. But that somehow seems unlikely to me since it would have been such a HUGE oversight and would surely have been corrected at some point.

    So I’m at a loss as to why in that particular shot the Predator’s cloaked outline isn’t on-screen. To my mind Dan Trachtenberg should have removed that wide shot altogether and just cut straight to the close-up shot of the Predator’s cloaked hand pulling an arrow out of his victim’s body.

    Anyway what follows is my review of Dan Trachtenberg’s new Predator movie ‘Prey.’:-

    Having read the glowing comments about ‘Prey.’ after the pre-release screening at Comic-Con I knew I’d enjoy it. The reviews seemed to promise everything that I want from a Sci-Fi Action movie. After all; there must be a good reason why it got a standing ovation at Comic-Con!

    However I wasn’t quite prepared for just how good it is, that I’d end up loving it as much as I do and that I’d end up watching it four times in three days! – once in the English language and three times in the superior and far more authentic Comanche language dub.

    So I hold my hands up and declare upfront that this review is obviously going to be biased in the movie’s favour!

    The first thing I have to say is that what surprised me most about ‘Prey.’ is that it’s enormously artful for a Sci-Fi Action movie.

    The basic story of ‘Prey.’ is quite similar to that of the 1987 classic ‘Predator.’ starring Arnold Schwarzenegger; with a group of people, although they don’t initially realize it, hunting an alien until one particularly capable individual comes to the fore and takes on the beast 1 on 1 in a battle to the death.

    However with the film set in 1719 on the Northern Great Plains of America and featuring Comanches (who are apparently depicted as accurately as they ever have been), ‘Prey.’ often has a surprisingly gentle tone when blood isn’t splattering.

    The music score is entirely different from what one usually expects from a Predator movie – although there are one or two very brief subtle callbacks to the original score. And different though it is, the score is entirely fitting for the period in which the movie is set and plays a huge part in setting the mood and tone of ‘Prey.’.

    I agree with those who’ve said that it’s a great shame that this outstanding movie can’t be shown in cinemas on the biggest screens – apparently because the option of two languages wouldn’t be available to the audience. The cinematography is outstanding in an appropriately understated way and it deserves to be see on the biggest screen possible.

    Amber Midthunder is perfectly cast as the lead character Naru and Dakota Beavers is great as her brother Taabe – in fact Taabe may be my favourite character. Apart from the Predator there really is only one other character of note in ‘Prey.’ but in the interests of avoiding spoilers, the less said about that character the better.

    The script is also very well written – particularly in the sense that the Comanches generally don’t use out-of-place modern phrases. Although there are one or two moments when I find myself asking: ‘Would a Comanche Warrior in 1719 really have said that?!

    Importantly; the plotting is also airtight enough that everything that happens in ‘Prey.’ seems believable in the context of the movie. It’s a very clever script that seems to have had a lot of time and care put into it with an eye on logic and believability.

    My only criticisms are that a) the CGI animals don’t always look entirely photo-realistic or move entirely accurately – including the predator itself in one scene. Although to be fair even far bigger budgeted Hollywood movies still often seem to have trouble rendering animals entirely realistically. And b) most of the French fur trappers are depicted as little more than brutish morons. Perhaps they were exactly that in real life but they come across to me as stereotypes rather than fully developed characters.

    One could argue that the supporting Comanche characters are also more stereotypes than characters, and perhaps should have more screen time in order to become characters that we genuinely care about.

    However on the whole those are small bugbears about a Sci-Fi action movie that exceeded all of my expectations, especially having watched a trailer which I found a bit boring and frankly not promising much from the movie itself.

    Dare I say it but in some respects I thinkΒ  ‘Prey.’ is superior to the 1987 classic ‘Predator.’ with Arnold Schwarzenegger and, I suspect, like ‘Predator.’, is destined to go down in the annals of Hollywood history as a true classic of it’s genre. Particularly when viewed with the Comanche dub.

    I absolutely love ‘Prey.’ and could write pages and pages praising it’s many virtues, but suffice it to repeat that over three days I watched it four times and I can’t get enough of it!

    I can’t recommend ‘Prey.’ highly enough and would urge anyone with an interest in well made movies generally, regardless of genre, to watch it.

    After 2018’s dreadful ‘The Predator.’, ‘Prey.’ elevates the ‘Predator’ franchise to much-needed new heights and I sincerely hope that ‘Prey.”s Director Dan Trachtenberg helms the sequel(s) as well, since I understand that sequels are already under discussion.

    There’s so much potential for exciting new movies set in different time periods and I hope that Dan Trachtenberg makes the most of those opportunities.

    I’d personally like to see the next movie set during the American Civil War and the one after that set in Germany (in the German language) during the Second World War.

    Now that would make a fantastic trilogy in which we see the Predators’ weapons and technology slowly evolve as we move through time toward the original Predator’s fateful meeting with Dutch and his muscle-bound Elite Special Forces unit.

    Until then; I can’t wait to get ‘Prey.’ on 4K blu ray!!

  17. This movie was exceptional. Great visuals, solid acting and action scenes by newcomers, a total breath of fresh air. The short length of the movie is part of its appeal, we know the predator story through the franchise, so it’s totally fine and appreciated that this adaptation gets right to the point, predator and prey. The attention given to the time period is well done. A 9/10 for me, and I have no doubt if this was shown (and heard) on the big screen it would have been a 10.

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