There’s no denying that the Predator franchise has had its ups and downs. What started off with an initial strong film and an enjoyable sequel wavered as several installments stumbled to find their footing. Prey does not. It avoids the pitfalls that sank some of its predecessors by breaking the central idea down to its core. So many sequels try to outdo their predecessors by adding on mythology and going bigger. Prey succeeds by going smaller and isolating the key themes of what it means to be a hunter and using character as the focal point while also adding new details that are not necessarily grand in scale but still unique.
Most fans will agree that the Predator’s ultimate goal is to hunt. It wants a challenge and will refrain from killing prey it doesn’t deem as threat. But rather than use that as a strict character point for the Predator itself, Prey takes those concepts and applies them directly to the human characters. In a stroke of genius, the film wisely places its setting at a time when humans had to rely greatly on hunting to survive. The indigenous tribe featured in the movie has a culture of hunting that mimics the Predator’s in some ways, and by making its main character as a young female (Amber Midthunder) determined to mark her place in that male-dominated field, it only adds to her impressive character.
But the storytelling foundation Prey is built on wouldn’t work unless it leans into all the things that make a Predator film great. There are tons of new gadgets and weapons as well as some awesome fight scenes that rival any the franchise has seen thus far. In an age when Hollywood executives think spectacle is always the answer, it’s awesome to see a film that still embraces spectacle, but does not place it before substance. Prey succeeds because it embodies everything that Predator fans enjoy on both a physical and thematic level.
Prey is now streaming on Hulu.