Set in 1719, Naru (Amber Midthunder) has been raised in the shadow of Comanche Nation hunters who roam the Great Plains, including her brother Taabe (Dakota Beavers). When danger threatens her camp, Naru sets out to protect her people. The prey she stalks, and ultimately confronts, turns out to be a highly evolved predator with an advanced arsenal hunting for sport. This results in a vicious showdown between the two adversaries.

If there was ever a franchise that needed new life, Predator certainly ranks among them. While the 1987 original is a quintessential Arnold Schwarzenegger classic, the rest of the series has had some drastic ups and downs. Predator 2 and Predators had their fun moments, but the Alien vs Predator movies and 2018’s The Predator left a lot to be desired. Now that we have Prey, an almost out-of-nowhere prequel, which strips down to the bare basics of what makes a Predator movie incredibly thrilling. The movie removes all the schlocky nonsense that the predecessors shoved in to try and top the previous one and creates a very quaint, if not slightly predictable, coming-of-age story of a young woman finding her way. At no point does Prey feel like an idea that was shoehorned into a pre-existing franchise as the Predator looms over the movie from almost the very beginning.

In a way, it’s almost a shame that Prey is a streaming exclusive as there are so many brutal kills and terrific landscapes that would pop on the big screen. Watching people use comparatively primitive weapons against the Predator’s collection of futuristic gadgets was incredibly fun and led to some creative ways to try and combat the threat. Director Dan Trachtenberg might be onto a golden idea of putting our favourite clicking dreadlocked hunter into different time periods. Can we have him go up against samurai or medieval knights?! Also fair warning to the squeamish or animal lovers, there are quite a few sequences where animals are either skinned or decapitated from the spine, in traditional Predator fashion.

Overall, Prey is a surprisingly welcome return to form for a franchise that needed a breath of fresh air. While the movie doesn’t necessarily reinvent the wheel, it does bring back the thrills and chills of the original and gives us a hunter vs hunter story with unique aspects. Fans of Predator, or those who want a simple, yet affective, action movie, should definitely watch Prey. There is an option to watch the movie entirely in Comanche if you’re after a more authentic experience.

Prey will be streaming on Disney+ on August 5.

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