Prey (2022)
August 5, 2022 3:10 AM - Subscribe

The origin story of the Predator in the world of the Comanche Nation 300 years ago. Naru, a skilled female warrior, fights to protect her tribe against one of the first highly-evolved Predators to land on Earth.
posted by geoff. (35 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
One of the best movies I've seen this year and one of the best sci-fi films in recent memory. Not deep and philosophical like Blade Runner, just a great action movie that's pretty much what it says in the summary. Luckily the brief appearance by French Canadians didn't make them saviors, nor did it try to tell a larger story about colonialism. They just get hunted by the predator too. It reminds me of a sci-fi Revenant.

Speaking of which the Revenant bear makes an appearance! The only downside to the movie was the composition of the CGI bear onto the scene just looked fake, but this was a minor scene in a movie with otherwise great special FX. It also helped to not think about how she was apparently unfamiliar with how to use a firearm but learned advanced alien technology quick enough to setup a trap for Predator.

I'm not even a big fan of the Alien/Predator franchise but I think a reboot into a different era was really what it needed. There's a tendency to keep bringing sci-fi further into the future where technology becomes more or less like magic from a plot perspective. This definitely kept it grounded in reality. I might watch the first Predator tonight!
posted by geoff. at 4:13 AM on August 5 [4 favorites]

Looks like it's on Hulu, so I'll be checking it out after this weekend. (Wikipedia also says that Amber Midthunder, who plays Naru, is a Native American, and that there's an all-Comanche dub of the film.)
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:19 AM on August 5 [5 favorites]

I was actually hoping the entire movie would've been in Comanche/French. There's so little dialogue I think it would have been better and then have an English dub for people like my parents who think subtitles are unamerican.
posted by geoff. at 7:41 AM on August 5 [3 favorites]

Amber Midthunder's been in a couple Liam Neeson action movies - The Marksman and The Ice Road. She has a lead role in the latter, a bit part in the former.
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 8:50 AM on August 5

She was also in one of my favourite things - Legion - so I'm vaguely rooting for her and happy to see her get a higher profile role. It looks like being one of the more interesting Predator movies (I actually enjoyed the second one a lot, despite its faults), and interesting enough to belie the streaming release.
posted by Grangousier at 9:46 AM on August 5 [3 favorites]

that there's an all-Comanche dub of the film

Yep; Hulu defaults to playing the English-language one, but does also have Prey (Comanche Dub) if you scroll down to the related/extras.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 2:42 PM on August 5 [1 favorite]

This was fucking brilliant. And the callback to Predator 2 was so perfectly done. (Even though she was victorious, uh, they get the flintlock back so...)

Definitely one of the best entries in the franchise.
posted by Kitteh at 5:25 PM on August 5 [5 favorites]

I really enjoyed it! It occurred to me early on that the Predator doing that chittering noise is supposed to be the Predator talking -- I think -- so now I just like the idea that the Predator is talking to himself all the time, "super sweet, I just totally killed that slithery thing and that barky thing, hey, what's that big growly thing, Ima kill it too, upsy daisy big boy, wow, I just totally killed that big thing, whoa, what's that over there, Ima kill it..."

I loved all of this but after five or six Predator movies I've kind of got a yen to see a movie about all the other Predators. There has to be a whole infrastructure to support the big game hunters, so there must be Predator spaceship mechanics and travel agents and accountants and just a whole society of Predators who are holding Predator desk jobs and raising Predator families and wondering what it all means.
posted by Shepherd at 5:29 PM on August 5 [15 favorites]

Wow. Top-notch, best action movie I have seen in years - and best Predator since the original!
posted by rozcakj at 7:05 PM on August 5

Agreed, Shepherd!

Not really the same, but are you familiar with Alien Loves Predator?

But yeah, that begs the question - the Predators that we see; are they all just dolled up in Mall Ninja gear?

Like, regular Predators wear dresses and suits. Summer leisure wear and formalwear for both somber and festive events. Cringey clothing young Predator parents dress their Predator munchkins in. etc.
posted by porpoise at 9:53 PM on August 5

Big fan of the Predator franchise.

I'm getting hung up on the appropriation and non-factualization. Sure, there aren't good hearted spec ops companies with that kind of loadout, LA cops aren't that heavily armed, and there aren't a Predator hunting sanctuary of cosmologically transported planets arranged in impossible orbital configuration, but the "NAmerican" adaptation of a Kusarigama (rope tied to a hatchet) doesn't get the physics right whatsoever. Yes, rope can be twisted like that (it takes a lot longer), but you typically want to rett the plant materials to get rid of the goopy stuff and make your rope from only good quality long fibers - as is, at the gauge with the materials, the quickbog scene is... distracting. But Dutch twisted a bowstring from green fiber (not to mention the bow itself) so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. And braided leather is probably a better option anyway. I'm rather skeptical of the thumb-down wrist-out bow-draw. Les voyageurs were pretty deeply ahistorical. Also the French dude without the foot... isn't in shock, then dead pretty much right away.

But I can get behind this like all rest of the mainline Predators. It does rise above the AVP by-blows and more evidence that the majority of Predators that we the audience see are less-than-weekend-warrior mall ninja neckbeard types or something.

The doggy's cool.

Midthunder sells Naru's cleverness.

Loved the bit of her doing an 'rnold "DO it, DO it."

I'm onboard re-writing the significance of the flintlock in P2. Well done.
posted by porpoise at 10:43 PM on August 5

Tremendous stuff! And absolutely obscene levels on competence porn, too.
posted by adrianhon at 6:43 AM on August 6 [3 favorites]

Extremely fucking good. Possibly the best Predator film that could even be done.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:12 AM on August 6 [1 favorite]

Very well done; loved how they not only told us but took care to show us Naru's observational skills and cleverness. Some callbacks (if it bleeds we can kill it), the pistol, but you don't need knowledge of the other films for those - they have their own meaning here. Midthunder was great.

Really enjoying thinking about how that pistol gets back to the predators.
posted by nubs at 9:25 AM on August 6

Incidentally this is on Disney+ in the UK right now
posted by adrianhon at 9:36 AM on August 6

Nthing the love.

I loved the fight scenes. It's such a relief to see decent fight choreography - no shakycam equals ACTION! The final fights with brother v predator and then Naru v predator were exceptional.

Tho I have to ask... how. stupid is the predator to not realize its laser guided bolts aren't going to work when its helmet has been knocked off.

Wanting a series of short films about the predator hunting supply store where the employees make fun of weekend warriors gearing up with invisibility cloaks and rock-cutting expando shields and laser-guided bolt launchers.
posted by kokaku at 11:29 AM on August 6 [6 favorites]

how. stupid is the predator to not realize its laser guided bolts aren't going to work when its helmet has been knocked off.

The sense I had was that it activates and places the three dots, and once it fires, it fires three shots, regardless of what’s happened to the helmet & targeting system in the interim. In the final fight it didn’t know the helmet was there - it looked to me like manual aim that was over-ridden. But that might just be me overreaching to defend a weird point in the movie because I enjoyed it so much.
posted by nubs at 4:41 PM on August 6 [1 favorite]

Tho I have to ask... how. stupid is the predator to not realize its laser guided bolts aren't going to work when its helmet has been knocked off.

I was yelling "Read the fucking manual!" at my TV when the Predator own-goaled himself right in the head. I think you're right, nubs, about how it works, it is just sort of bewildering that either he wouldn't remember that he isn't still wearing the helmet or that he wouldn't know that it is connected to a targeting system, not point-and-shoot.

There has to be a whole infrastructure to support the big game hunters, so there must be Predator spaceship mechanics and travel agents and accountants and just a whole society of Predators who are holding Predator desk jobs and raising Predator families and wondering what it all means.

I think of it as the Klingon Problem. Like, there's this whole society devoted solely to ritualized combat and honor, every Klingon is a warrior, and then occasionally you'll hear someone mention a discovery by a Klingon Xeno-Botanist or something, and you just think, "That poor bastard must have gotten so much shit from his parents when he told them he wanted to study flowers and not spill oceans of blood for the glory of the Klingon Empire."

Maybe the Predators are just the decadent uber-rich of some advanced civilization who've grown bored with power. Maybe they don't even naturally look like that: they go through extensive genetic re-engineering to turn themselves into these giant monster mofos.

But yeah, this was pretty rad.
posted by Saxon Kane at 6:16 PM on August 6 [3 favorites]

Loved this but was sad to not see it in a theater. It would have been an amazing experience.
posted by octothorpe at 8:23 PM on August 6 [1 favorite]

John Mulaney's childhood fear of quicksand is looking pretty justified here, isn't it.
posted by Pronoiac at 3:46 AM on August 7

Even though she was victorious, uh, they get the flintlock back so...

For anyone who missed it, the end credits recap the film in brief animations of key scenes and there's a 'bonus' scene not in the film at the end with several Predator ships coming down from the sky towards the village.

IIRC in the AvP comics the heroine gets adopted by the Predators and trained to be a hunter like them, so maybe Prey 2 (Preys?) will have Naru in a similar situation (or a cameo to confirm her fate).

I want to add to the praise here and highlight two big positives for me (aside from Midthunder who carries the film): shooting on location and a 100 minute run time. It looks incredible and doesn't overstay its welcome!
posted by slimepuppy at 9:36 AM on August 7 [5 favorites]

saw this last night. beautiful film, great action movie.

but I'm staying for this unexpected side-thread of Predators: The Normies Back Home. I too would like to see a dramedy about the zany adventures of the Preda-dad accountant and his wacky family (the teenage son works at the sporting goods store and many a night the family sits around the dinner table laughing their asses off over Junior's tales of Weekend-Wannabee the Killer).
posted by supermedusa at 10:15 AM on August 7

I'm glad Naru's brother called out the Predator for its bullshit. Invisibility cloaks and heat vision and hover bombs and laser-guided target-seeking bolts are totally cheating against opponents who don't have that kind of tech if your whole thing is supposed to be the "honorable hunt".
posted by star gentle uterus at 10:33 AM on August 7 [2 favorites]

What if the Predators we see are the hicks of the Predator world? Like they're the rolling coal duallys of their species and the rest just like to sip on Predator red wine while watching period pieces on whatever Predator Hulu is.
posted by geoff. at 10:42 AM on August 7 [2 favorites]

It also helped to not think about how she was apparently unfamiliar with how to use a firearm but learned advanced alien technology quick enough to setup a trap for Predator.

I'm not sure why you would need to think about this at all. Naru just observed that the Predator's bolts go where the red dots of the mask aim and used that observation to set up the trap, it's not like she learned how to build a laser herself.
posted by star gentle uterus at 11:03 AM on August 7

This was easily the best predator movie, though that's pretty faint praise. :P

The beginning felt a bit stilted (it's not easy to mash up the genres smoothly), and the predator suffers from being completely non-mysterious at this point in cinematic history. Let aliens be weird! Let the first predator be just /a/ predator, unique and different in its choice of weapons and weaknesses than the others we'll meet later...

That said, everything else was great. The lead eating the orange flowers to turn invisible was fantastic, fight scenes at the end were awesome. Despite the prominent scene with a bog, they didn't reuse the mud-as-invisibility-cloak from the original movie, though there were plenty of other callbacks. Good times.
posted by kaibutsu at 4:02 PM on August 7 [1 favorite]

Just saw it, Midthunder and the rest of the cast are fantastic, and although I'm not sure that I'd put it ahead of the first film, it's well above the other sequels. There's a real beauty to a lot of the scenes.
posted by Halloween Jack at 6:22 PM on August 7

Wow, I had a great time. There's nothing like an action film with unobtrusive CGI. I feel so cheerful after watching one. And Midthunder was very good, though I didn't recognize the actress until she was sulking after the lion hunt. The relationship between Naru and her brother was wonderful. I figured he was probably toast -- until Taabe died, the predator only killed assholes! I was basically rooting for him! -- but it was still a letdown. I should create a lobby to represent my interests in this matter.

I liked Naru figuring out the alien gun, especially since it was so directly paired with her learning how to fire the pistol. The film also made it clear that Naru is good at figuring things out (a lot better at figuring things out than she is at killing, though I guess she came along on that front too).
posted by grandiloquiet at 6:46 PM on August 7

I loved the caring dynamic between Naru and her brother; they could have written it where he was disdainful of her desire to be a warrior, but no, he supported her all the way, even when his fellow hunters were absolute shitheels.
posted by Kitteh at 6:17 AM on August 8

The only thing wrong with this movie was me not watching the Comanche cut on the first viewing.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:04 PM on August 8 [1 favorite]

I watched this last night and echoing those above I thought it was quite good and would have happily watched it in a theatre. I hope this sets a more interesting trend for future films in the series.

The only thing that stood out as particularly bad was the frankly laughable CGI bear which was thankfully very brief. I do have some things I was a bit confused about regarding their inclusion in the movie though.

Why the specific year of 1719? Is this a reference to some Predator lore I am unaware of? I know that Comanche culture integrated the horse into their culture in the mid 1700s so was the intent to depict them at an earlier time without a predominant use of horses? So from the promo materials this is supposed to be first contact for the Predator / Humans so AVP never happened I guess? Which I'm fine with really I'm mostly just curious.

Why did the French massacre and leave the bison meat? I was watching it with my kid and they asked me about that. Historically that's not something they would have done, especially not in 1719 - that meat would have been just as valuable as the furs. Even if they were "bad" people they likely wouldn't have done that. Wholesale slaughter of bison would come much more dramatically in the 19th century. While I was glad they had mostly Canadian French (I guess it was shot in Alberta?) playing the trapper characters and they were speaking mostly the correct French (the big fellow with the cigar had an Anglo accent to my ears) but a thing that caught my attention was the use of the word "une blonde" to mean "a girlfriend" rather than an blonde woman (the trappers use that word when describing Naru when she's locked in the cage). I could be wrong but I thought that use had a 20th century origin.

And the "quicksand"? I guess that's supposed to be muskeg (a peat bog) which is a thing in the boreal forest and Arctic though not especially like it is depicted in the film but yeah artistic license which is fine (quicksand is always exciting) I just didn't think the Comanche territory went that far north. To be clear, these things don't ruin the movie for me or anything they are just things I noticed and was curious about because my brain never turns off.

Anybody digging this might like the smaller budget Canadian film, Slash/Back, about a group of Inuit girls taking on a alien invasion (it's a bit like the alien from the Thing).
posted by Ashwagandha at 9:36 AM on August 9

Why the specific year of 1719?

The flintlock pistol with the engraving “Raphael Adolini 1715” made an appearance in the film Predator 2.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 9:40 AM on August 9 [1 favorite]

Ok so that's a call back to Predator 2? Ok that makes sense.
posted by Ashwagandha at 10:16 AM on August 9

Being married to a bilingual Anglophone and having taken French classes upon my arrival in Quebec set me up really well to understand the French dialogue. I liked that they didn't translate it into English for the audience; you're supposed to be as at sea as Naru and her brother are when you have white dudes speaking their language at you.

Ashwagandha, there was one of the French actors where I was like, "Wait, he pronounced the letter 'h'! I smell a rat."
posted by Kitteh at 10:21 AM on August 9 [2 favorites]

I loved it. I was hoping for a Predator ship to show up and get commandeered, or for Naru to be adopted into the family -- mostly, I wanted this movie to end with Naru going to space. Because, really, she deserved to go to space. That would have been cool.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 8:23 PM on August 10

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