This Hulu Prey (2022) movie review does not contain spoilers.
It’s safe to say that Prey (2022) isn’t where no one expected the Predator franchise to go next. The latest installment in the series launched by Jim Thomas and John Thomas serves as a prequel to the other four films. Directed by Dan Trachtenberg and written by Patrick Alson, Hulu’s Prey is set in the Northern Great Plains in 1719 as a young woman from the Comanche nation comes face to face with an early version of the alien Predator (Dane DiLiegro) .
Naru (Amber Midthunder) is a talented young woman, determined to prove herself as a warrior to the men of her tribe who doubt her abilities, including her other brother Taabe (Dakota Beavers). One day while hunting, she thinks she saw a thunderbird coming in the sky – but she really witnessed a Predator ship. She joins a group of hunters tracking down a missing warrior who was attacked by a mountain lion.
While in the woods, Naru is convinced that there is something more sinister than a mountain lion prowling around. The film builds up excellent tension as she attempts to hunt down the being the audience knows is the very dangerous Predator. She and her brother are eventually captured by French traders, presenting another dangerous alien invasion on their land.
Midthunder is an excellent protagonist, both vulnerable and skilled enough to keep audiences constantly captivated. The action sequences are impressive and varied, from battles against the wilderness – including a bear, a wolf and a mud pit – to those against the monster itself. There’s certainly no shortage of gore, and the Predator’s advanced technology is even scarier when compared to more basic Comanche weaponry.
It’s the sensitive and detailed portrayal of the Comanche nation that sets Prey apart from most other films in its genre. Producer Jhane Myers is a member of the Comanche nation herself and certainly helped ensure an accurate portrayal of their ways of life. From the dress, to the food preparation, to the body paint, there has been great attention to detail. Costume designer Stephanie Porter and makeup department head Samantha Rumball ensured that the footage was based on truth (and surely practicality for filming action scenes) rather than stereotypes.
In addition to this dignified portrayal of the Comanche people, the filmmakers have made a Comanche language dub of the film which is available on Hulu. They eventually decided to use English in the main version of the film, but also wanted to have a way to watch it in whatever language the characters would have used. It’s an impressive and laudable step towards performance and well worth watching in the Comanche language (with English subtitles).
By setting the prequel three hundred years before the original film, Prey escapes many of the problems with franchise films. There are no corny attempts to tap into the nostalgia, though there are plenty of nods for fans of the earlier films. However, it is also visible to someone with no franchise experience. Prey is not only one of the strongest action movies of 2022 so far, but it’s also the Predator franchise’s best offering since the original film.
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