Film Review – “Prey” Brings an Iconic Sci-Fi Monster to Hulu with All the Slashing and Stabbing You Could Want

There are very few sci-fi creatures that have ever been thought up that have created more nightmares than the one that first hit the big screen in 20th Century Fox’s Predator. Since then, the iconic creature has been ripping the spines out of its victims in films like Predators, Alien vs. Predator and many others.

The latest installment to the franchise is coming directly to Hulu and it gives fans a look at the very first time the Predator came to Earth. Prey follows a young woman and a member of the Comanche Nation 300 years ago. As she tries to prove to her tribe that she can hunt, she comes across perhaps the greatest hunter in the universe.

Prey is a worthy addition to this beloved franchise. It’s not going to blow anyone away in terms of the complexity of the story or the creation of characters, but it gives Predator fans a whole lot of exactly what they want: the Predator. The creatures gets more than enough time in the spotlight in this one, combining his trademark futuristic technology (even 300 years in the past) and pure brute strength to tear through victim after victim.

One thing this film does not do is keep the creature a mystery. Sure, we all know what we’re going to see in this film, but I almost wish we would have seen a bit less of the Predator so early in the film, just to build the suspense a bit more. Still, seeing the Predator in action is always a lot of fun.

It also makes sense to see the Predator in this film be a bit more rough around the edges. The creature’s techniques aren’t quite as refined and it appears to be a bit more brutal, while still sticking to its code of course, than what we’ve seen in previous films. This fits with the prequel as the race of alien hunters would likely have learned their trade a bit more over time and become more skilled for the hunts we’ve seen in films like Predator. It’s kind of a brilliant detail to throw in for Predator fans to appreciate.

The action in this film is also unique and a lot of fun. While fans are used to seeing muscle-bound humans fight the Predator with giant guns as they traipse about the jungle, this film follows Naru, who seemingly glides throughout the forest and uses much more lightweight weaponry and attacks. The stunt work is phenomenal and watching her run through the forest and bounce effortlessly off of trees is almost mesmerizing. And that’s not even touching on the action involving the Predator itself, which is obviously exciting. It’s not everyday you get to see an alien fight a bear.

As for the cast itself, while most of the characters are simply lambs bein led to the slaughter, Amber Midthunder certainly shines as Naru. In fact, one thing Predator films have been lacking, at least since Predator 2, has been a likable lead character. Midthunder breaks that streak here as she delivers a perfect performance as the rebellious and skilled young protagonist.

The story itself probably could have been given some more time to breathe. At just over 90 minutes, Prey is essentially just a brief showcase of an iconic sci-fi creature with an even more brief introduction of an interesting character. More time could have been spent fleshing out Naru and her relationship with her brother and the rest of her people. That would have certainly raised the emotional stakes and made the audience care just a little bit more about some of the gruesome deaths they’re watching.

Overall, Prey is exactly what Predator fans want to see. Those who aren’t particularly excited about this nightmarish space beast butchering people and animals and instead want to see a complex story with a bunch of compelling characters, will likely be disappointed. However, if you grew up thinking the Predator is simply one of the coolest movie monsters to ever exist, this movie is the perfect action-packed nightmare to add to your watchlist.

Prey will stream exclusively on Hulu starting August 5.