The Pissed Take - Prey
Release Date 05Aug2022
PREY -or- BEAUTY V THE BEAST *AKA* The first good Predator movie, after a list of rancid turdinations, since 1987.
PREY was good - not great, as some have explosively gushed, but good.
"PREY" is the seventh movie in the "PREDATOR" franchise, 5th in terms of movies that have even a slight connection, and of course no connection with the "ALIEN VS PREDATOR" movies.
It's #2 in terms of movies that aren't septic. Seriously, 2018's "The Predator" should have never seen a greenlight, and Shane Black needs a stern talking to with a hot waffle-iron.
PREY, set in 1719, is about a Comanche tribe's young ones preparing for the trials that will prove to their tribe that they are ready to become hunters. This includes NARU (Amber MidThunder) a young woman with demonstrable skills, who doesn't want to fill the role of healer and watcher of home and child that is common for women in Comanche society... and her little dog SARII (Coco). There is also her somewhat supportive brother TAABE (Dakota Beaver) the tribe's resident young BAMF.
Oh yeah, there is also the 7 ft tall invisible lizard man... and cartoon Frenchmen.
This movie, currently released on HULU (though, I'm hearing mumblings about a limited theatrical release), takes the franchise back to a more stripped down and focused execution of story. Much like "The Most Dangerous Game" aka "The Hounds of Zaroff", a short story by RICHARD CONNELL, this is about hunter against hunter in a battle of wits.
It works when it maintains focus on this central conceit, with Amber MidThunder admirably selling Naru as both in over her head and smart enough to get through it. Naru and Taabe working together is the highlight of the movie.
It doesn't work when trying to sell ideas it doesn't have the budget for (some of that CGI made me clench), and a few narrative conveniences that don't quite pass the stank test.
Overall, this movie is a well-constructed and well-executed, but slightly wobbly reset of this franchise that should inform what comes after. There IS more coming after. The technical presentation, save for some funky VFX, is superb for a movie that got dumped onto a streamer. (Extra points for the COMANCHE DUB that is an audio track option performed by the Native cast that you definitely want to choose before you hit "PLAY")
Note: In the Comanche version, the French language is not subtitled in English which is frustrating and makes the French trappers even more cartoonish than they already are.
SEE IT: If you're not quite done with this franchise, and you are open to seeing a movie that is really quite good. Yeah, it's not bad... it's also not better than the 1987 original.
DON'T SEE IT: If you're DONE after Shane Black's, 2018 apocalypta-shit-fuckery *AKA* "The Predator... I understand. Also, if part of your definition of "woke" includes merely having a Woman BE (Capable, smart, strong, brown, ETC) because, y'know - that ain't normal and reg'lar. Fuck you! Go flat-iron your asshole.