Film Review: Prey (2022)

In an oversimplified term, it is a Prometheus (Alien franchise) to the Predator franchise.

Set in The Northern Great Plan, in the year 1719. The film starts with the main character—Naru being in a hunter and gatherer Native American tribe gathering whatever her tribe demands of her. However Naru doesn’t enjoy doing her job as a gatherer as her passion seems more like a hunter. 

It seems like a film that wants to challenge the world of men, that women can do anything men can do. But in the end, it’s not as shallow as that. Naru has a depth as a character, works hard and smart to achieve her goals. Not just stating the obvious, getting angry about it, and doing something about it but in the end making things worse. In a nutshell, she doesn’t try and make everything like a vicious cycle.

Fuck the brother, Taabe takes the credit of what Naru has been done. At least say it was a team effort. 

Comanche People

The people (Credit: 20th Century Studios / Davis Entertainment)

They use everything around them without destroying the environment. Hunting not slaughtering. Gathering without exploiting. So can we, the so-called “modern human” do things like that anymore? 

But when talking about accuracy, I’m not a historian nor someone who has real knowledge about them. So let’s leave them to the historians.

Hunt or Be Hunted

The premise is classic hunt or be hunted. Along with humans thought of hunting, whether hunting small and big animals or other humans. But in the end, all the humans are the ones who are being hunted instead. 

One scene that I love but does not involve any humans is a sequence where a bug is eaten by a mouse, then this mouse is killed by a snake, finally the snake is aware of a Yautja in stealth mode but eventually gets killed. Unfortunately there are too many of these kinds of scenes. It’d be more meaningful if it’s just this one time, and take us straight to the Predator vs Humans.

Slow Start but Eventually Bite

Naru (Credit: 20th Century Studios / Davis Entertainment)

The ship cutting through the clouds. A man left to die. Unique trails that are not left by lions or any earthly predatory animals. Naru has her moments witnessing and identifying other parties rather than just lions or bears among them. Maybe just because she is a woman and new in hunting, any opinions stated by her are just nothing for the men.

In the end to prove her worth, Naru goes on a solo journey that leads the film to where it should be. But in terms of pacing, it was sort of late. It only starts at around 30 minutes of the film run time. Giving us half an hour of getting to know the situations is just too much. 

We suck in the beginning of everything. 

Confusing Language

Why do they speak English? And mixed with the language is spoken by the Comanche—Numic. Actually the original script was in Numic and it was pitched so. Alas with the corporate situations, the film is shot with mostly English. 

It is supposedly available in Numic dubbing on Hulu or Disney+. Sad to say, it seems not available in Disney+ Indonesia. Even the English subtitles don’t work as they are supposed to be. Like when anyone speaks Numic and French, it’s just displaying those in their original language. Worse for Indonesian subtitles, it only shows Indonesian when the spoken language is English. 

Top-notch Techniques

They did a fine work cinematographically speaking (Credit: 20th Century Studios / Davis Entertainment)

Aesthetically pleasing, great camera work, good though not top of the line, the CGI is good. The way lighting works in the film is fine, whether capturing day or night moments. The framing and movement display a thorough planning cinematography. Speaking about the CGI, it is something ‘believable’ for today’s standard yet not the best either. 

Let’s Wrap It Up

To sum it up, it is a fresh take for the Predator franchise. Yes it has a slow start. But finally it delivers a really good action film from the franchise. Capturing what happened the first time they come to earth.

Don’t imagine it like the 1987 Predator and replace Arnold Schwarzenegger with Amber Midthunder as the main antagonist. Naru has a character that grows from minimal impact at the beginning to a level that she is expected to be. If ever there will be a sequel to Prey, telling what’s next for Naru and her people, she will definitely be able to carry it. 

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