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Review of "Prey": A new heroine revitalizes the saga

With an exquisite execution and a script in which everything unfolds perfectly, this film manages to show the essence of Predator. Available on Hulu and Star+, here's our review of "Prey".

Frame from the movie

Photo: YT-Star +

LatinAmerican Post | Theoscar Mogollón González

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Leer en español: Reseña de "Depredador: La Presa": Una nueva heroína revitaliza la saga

In 1987, "Predator" hit theaters, a film that received mixed reviews at first, but over time became a classic of the action genre. Since then, a saga with some unconvincing stories was created, until in this 2022 the director Dan Trachtenberg opted for a different strategy than what had already been seen to present us with "Prey".

This franchise is probably more tied to science fiction than action, as its main characters are a race of aliens armed with sophisticated technology. In his first installment, Arnold Schwarzenegger was the only one of the special forces group to survive and defeat this new antagonist, who was characterized by stalking his prey just like a predator. What did Hollywood do with this hit that almost grossed $1 billion at the box office? Start their own universe.

That's how "Predator 2" arrived in 1990, which went from the jungle to the city. Then came "Predators" (2010), set on an unknown planet and with different mercenaries from Earth who were hunted by these creatures. "The Predator" (2018) brought a modern but unattractive story. Finally, two crossovers in the form of a sequel: "Alien vs. Predator" (2004) and "Alien vs. Predator: Requiem" (2007). However, none of this came close to the first film in any way. The saga, on the contrary, was devalued.

The first steps of "Prey" were almost on a par with the 2018 film. It was Trachtenberg himself who presented his concept to that same team of producers. This is how years later, the story of a young Comanche warrior, who grew up in the shadow of great hunters of her tribe, begins her hunt for an unknown prey that ends up being a highly evolved alien. In such a fierce confrontation, only audacity is able to emerge victorious.

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Predator or prey? Back to the roots of the saga

Unlike previous installments that starred veteran actors, "Predator: Prey" breaks the mold with Amber Midthunder. The new protagonist is a young actress more linked to television series. Midthunder introduces a warrior (Naru) who is looked down upon by the other hunters, but whose growth in her own right makes her a true hero. In fact, the first few minutes of the film focus on her and her role within the tribe. This builds a solid foundation that supports what is to come.

Some may think that the film is slow to start, but what actually happens is that little by little we become familiar with the culture of the Comanches and their way of hunting. The scenarios give the plot its own identity, which takes its time to bring the predator to the fore. In this, in addition, the jump in time is noticeable, since it does not have such advanced technology as in the other deliveries.

On this occasion, the creature perhaps sins for its inexperience, and it is not for less when we talk about a story set in 1719. At this point, Naru is the only one who seems to notice these strange things, so she decides to bring up that innate hunting talent to find the whereabouts of that unknown beast. In the end, the solvent use of the narrative serves perfectly to make sense of the expected duel between hunter and prey, with very good action sequences.

At the same time, it is worth noting that Trachtenberg sought to return to the roots of the saga, to its essence, and that is what he achieves with the feeling of the struggle for survival and isolation of a character who transits between hunting and being hunted. The assembly, handling and execution of the entire work goes in sync. This allows the suspense to be decisive and not just a simple slaughter.

On the other hand, the film does not develop the context of the European trappers, who end up being the predictable "cannon fodder". However, their participation made it clear how these types of subjects were capable of destroying entire ecosystems by hunting buffalo and letting them rot without skin under the sun, or by mistreating other ethnic groups just for being different from them.

In short, "Prey" is a film made with heart and ambition that leaves us with a different experience than that seen in the last installments of the saga. While some assure that it is the best thing since the eighties film, others already affirm that it is the beginning of new stories. And it is that the cinema not only needs to see more of this predator, but also to have bold and strong heroines like Naru.