Film review: Prey (2022, Disney+)

Prey // By Dan Trachtenberg. With Amber Midthunder, Dane DiLiegro and Harlan Blayne Kytwayhat.

At first glance, Prey has everything of a rural film about the Comanches and the way they live in community. It’s even a good thing to set the story at this time when the French (represented as big pigs in the film) are in the process of decimating this whole community to take the Lands (yes because France held a good part of the United States at one time before selling the land for a pittance). All this until… a Predator arrives. Prey then becomes the fifth part of the franchise (if we exclude the two crossovers with Alien). Predator is a fascinating franchise that never really stood a chance. The latest film (2018) even looked like a bad parody as it had nothing to tell. With Prey, Dan Trachtenberg (10 Cloverfield Lane) signs an astonishing and above all successful second film (apart from a cruel lack of means which means that the special effects are not really up to scratch).

Three centuries ago on the territory of the Comanches, Naru, a fierce and brilliant warrior, now makes it her duty to protect her tribe as soon as danger threatens her. She discovers that the prey she is stalking at the moment is none other than a particularly evolved alien predator equipped with the most sophisticated cutting-edge arsenal. A confrontation as perverse as it is terrifying soon begins between the two adversaries…

Prey’s real strength is Amber Midthunder. The young actress steals the show from the famous Predator and offers us a most amazing performance. I want to see this young actress more often (discovered for my part in the Legion series). She demonstrates with Prey that she can carry the whole film on her shoulders. Beyond the actress, it’s the situation and the time that work. In situation the plot in 1719, Prey offers himself a real new playground. We are far from the weapons of our time and the showdown between the Comanches and the Predator then becomes all the more thrilling. The action is based on simple things that work. Dan Trachtenberg redid a little what he was able to do with 10 Cloverfield Lane which took up the history of the Cloverfield franchise in the spirit of a simple device where the most important are the characters and not necessarily everything that revolves around them. The director then sheds light on this community and their living space as no other film has done before.

The rest of the cast is good enough to hold the film to the end. I wasn’t expecting such a surprise in particular, but I’m forced to note that the Predator franchise is getting a new lease of life here, obviously hoping that it won’t be the last and that a new part will see the light of day soon. By passing under the Disney umbrella, I would have thought that the franchise would lose its soul, but for once with Prey, the exact opposite happened. We discover a franchise that comes back to life before our eyes. A master stroke.

Rating: 8.5/10. In short, apart from the not crazy special effects, Prey is a real surprise offering a second youth to the Predator franchise. Add to that the Amber Midthunder reveal that shines from the beginning to the end of the film.

Available on Disney+

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