After releasing a quick teaser last month, Prey, the latest entry in the Predator franchise, has released its first official trailer. Prey takes place three hundred years in the past, where the extraterrestrial hunter encounters a Commanche woman who feels the need to protect her tribe from the invisible alien presence.
In the latest trailer, we meet Naru (Legion’s Amber Midthunder) throwing axes and appearing in similar face paint resembling her Predator pursuing predecessor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, preparing herself to go hunting. The voiceover suggests the subtle hints of gender roles within her family as she answers her interlocutor’s question, “Why do you want to hunt?” with, “Because you all think that I can’t.” Making her way into the forest under ominous skies, Naru and her canine companion catch the eye of a bear. Nearly Revenant-ed by the animal, something unseen steps in and saves her from being mauled. The entirety of the trailer contains a pressing tension that will definitely elevate your heart rate, especially as a foggy battleground becomes insanely gruesome.
The trailer’s tagline, “They hunt to live, it lives to hunt,” boasts the odds for the Commanche tribe, and they do not look good. Prey’s plains and forest settings also feel more like a return to the low-key action-suspense thriller we saw in the original Arnold Schwarzenegger movie, where his character led a team of Commandos through a Central American jungle and encountered the otherworldly force.
Director Nimród Antal tried a similar approach with the franchise in 2010 when he moved the setting to the jungles of the Predator home world, though the effort was met with little success. The last franchise effort, Shane Black’s The Predator, was about a ragtag group of problematic soldiers banding together to contain the alien threat in the modern-day. The result fell flat with a cheesy setup for an overly ambitious and eye-rolling sequel attempt. It triggered the same disgust response as the cash-grab follow-up Independence Day: Resurgence.
This latest film, written by tv writer Patrick Aison (Wayward Pines, Jack Ryan) and directed by 10 Cloverfield Lane’s Dan Trachtenberg, feels different though, patient and composed. Traits that astounding oppose the last three attempts where the ante always felt upped and everything needed to be bigger. While I still expect the Predator’s future tech to cause explosive chaos in Prey, the Commanche weapon melees, stealth-driven arrow attacks, and bare-handed attempts to subdue a Predator seem much smarter than seeing relentless bullet storms. Especially when the audience already knows this being needs to be outsmarted anyway. Where the original movie crafted irony through mercenaries believing themselves to be apex hunters and succumbing to a guerilla they never expected, the Prey trailer seems to recapture a similar narrative, and it’s refreshing to have a writer and director that understand the assignment.
Prey premieres exclusively on Hulu on August 5.