The Predator franchise has finally bore a worthy successor to John McTiernan’s original. Set three hundred years ago in the North American Great Plains, Prey tells the tale of highly skilled Comanche warrior Naru (Amber Midthunder), who’s frustrated by never getting taken seriously by the male members of her tribe. But when a predator with advanced weapons lands nearby, Naru sets out to hunt and kill the beast to save the tribe and prove her prowess.
Patrick Aison’s script simmers with subtle drama, teasing the predator via camouflaged shots during intense animal battles. We’re then introduced to some unruly musket-brandishing colonisers who capture Naru’s crew but are forced to unite and battle the beast in an electrifying showdown that escalates and intensifies while charging towards its finale.
Director Dan Trachtenberg fashions heart-pounding set-pieces adorned by stunningly captured settings and vistas making Prey feel prestige (think Jane Campion and Werner Herzog directing Cannibal Holocaust). However, it isn’t afraid to get dirt under its nails as Trachtenberg embellishes franchise characteristics with film-making savvy, making Prey a far cry from the sequels that preceded it.
Prey is the mature, fresh, enthralling franchise revitaliser that fans have been craving, and Trachtenberg’s a director worth keeping an eye on. Aside from some flat supporting characters and occasional stale dialogue, the saddest fact about Prey is it's perfect big screen viewing that’s bypassing cinemas. But despite that, it is still great to see such an iconic monster so lovingly reinvented, for Trachtenberg’s Predator is gnarly, commanding, and by far the scariest yet.
Prey is available on Disney+ from August 5th.