‘Prey’ takes Predator franchise in new direction with soft reboot


Courtesy of 20th Century Studios

Prey takes the Predator series in a direction with a wildly different setting.

Joseph Ferrer, Arts & Entertainment Editor

The original “Predator” released in 1987, making cinema history with its gruesomely violent action and astonishingly elaborate costuming of the titular alien hunter. Over the years, there have been plenty of sequels and reboots of the franchise all with varying levels of quality, but the recently released “Prey” on Hulu sets itself apart by placing the Predator character in a wildly different time period and using the human characters of the story to tell an empowering story of a young woman and her tribe.  


“Prey” takes place in a radically different setting from every other Predator movie, that being early 1700s North America. Within a Comanche tribe, a young hunter Naru (Amber Midthunder) struggles to try and prove herself, often being overlooked by the other men in the tribe including her brother Taabe (Dakota Beavers). Naru eventually sets off on a hunt of her own in order to gain the respect of her tribe, however, things take a dark turn when her tribe members become the targets of an alien Predator that hunts for sport within the area. The rest of the film follows Naru as she flees, battles and tries to overcome the Predator, protecting her tribe and proving her worth in the process.  


While “Prey” is another entry into the Predator franchise, the film is designed in a way where it’s almost a soft reboot of the series. While the movie can be enjoyed by anyone new to the films, there are small nods that fans of the series can pick up on. From a conceptual standpoint, “Prey” offers a unique take on the Predator formula by placing the Predator in a setting where the technology available to the human characters is dramatically inferior to the Predator’s slew of advanced alien weaponry. The film not only successfully conveys how big of a power difference the Predator is to the human characters but also presents clever ways for Naru to use the tactics she’s learned as a hunter to combat the Predator threat. The Predator itself also gets plenty of opportunities to shine with brutal action scenes that depict how visceral the character can be. The concept of placing the Predator in different time periods and settings is well realized within the film and the possibility of having more films that follow a similar format using different regions and settings is promising.  


The title of “Prey” as the film’s plot focuses heavily on the hunter dynamic, especially with the main character Naru. Naru’s story is an empowering one, and Amber Midthunder’s acting does a great job at making her growth from a headstrong young girl seeking validation to a warrior of her tribe feel natural. The movie also does a great job representing Comanche culture and even incorporating some traditions as plot points in the film that feel natural. While Naru is the focus of the film and many of the other human characters exist as fodder for the Predator character, the rest of the actors contribute greatly to their roles on screen. “Prey” helps take the Predator franchise in a new direction that feels fresh both for fans of the series and new viewers.