Prey Is Hands Down the Best Predator Sequel Ever Made

Coming into the second half of 2022, I was super excited for Prey. I’m a huge fan of the original Predator, and while I haven’t liked any of the sequels (including the Alien crossovers), I love this monster so much that I’m always up for seeing it one more time. Sure, Shane Black’s The Predator was a huge disappointment, but I’m a bit of an undying optimist when it comes to movies, so I was excited to see what this newest installment of the Predator franchise would bring to the table. And after finally getting a chance to see it, I’m happy to report that it’s everything I wanted it to be.

Prey was directed by Dan Trachtenberg, and it stars Amber Midthunder, Dakota Beavers, Dane DiLiegro, Stormee Kipp, Michelle Thrush, and Julian Black Antelope. It’s set in the early 1700s, and it’s about a young Comanche woman named Naru who’s trying to prove to her people that she can be a great hunter. At first, nobody seems to take her seriously, but that all begins to change when a highly evolved and extremely dangerous alien arrives in their territory.

For about the first 40 minutes or so, Prey basically just sets the stage for its inevitable clash between Naru and the Predator, and it’s awesome. To begin, actress Amber Midthunder does an awesome job as Naru, so I bought into her character right from the start. She makes the young warrior really likable and sympathetic, so it’s super easy to root for her throughout the entire story. Not only do you want to see her defeat the Predator, but you also want to see her prove to her people that she can be the warrior and hunter she believes she is.

The rest of the acting here is pretty good too, and I have to give special mention to Dakota Beavers, who plays Naru’s brother Taabe. While he doesn’t get a ton to do on his own, his chemistry with Midthunder makes Taabe and Naru a great pair. I really enjoyed seeing them whenever they were on screen together, so their relationship played a key role in elevating this film above your typical monster movie fare.

Naru hiding from the Predator

On top of that, the first act of Prey also has some really good action and tension, and not just when the Predator is around. There are a few times when the human characters hunt or are hunted by various animals, and director Dan Trachtenberg manages to make these scenes almost as good as the ones that involve the Predator. They’re all really fun to watch, so they do a great job of holding you over until you finally get to the gory alien mayhem.

Last but not least, these first 40 minutes also introduce us to the Predator, and they do so at just the right pace. Initially, you just get hints of the creature’s presence, but as the film progresses, you see more and more of it. In particular, you learn just what this thing is capable of, and it’s absolutely terrifying.

For example, there’s a scene where it fights a bear, and if you ever doubted just how formidable these monsters are, you won’t after you see how easily it disposes of this apex predator. It gives you a great sense of how dangerous the creature is, so you know the humans are going to be totally outmatched when it begins to go after them.

Now, after all that awesome setup, you might be afraid that Prey would struggle with the payoff, but there’s no need to worry. Once the Predator starts hunting people, the movie gets even better. This thing goes through its human prey just as easily as you’d expect, and the gore is as good as anything we’ve ever seen from the franchise.

Granted, it’s not over the top, so don’t go into this movie looking for excessive and gratuitous amounts of blood and guts. It’s just enough to make the Predator action feel real, and I ate up every second of it.

The Predator holding a shield

On top of that, Prey also does an amazing job of addressing the biggest question I had about its central conflict: how could a young woman with a bow and arrow stand up to a Predator? That seems like a total mismatch, so I was afraid the whole premise of the movie would be a bit far-fetched.

But once again, there’s nothing to worry about here. I’m obviously not going to spoil what happens, but I will say that the filmmakers behind this one came up with a totally believable way to allow Naru to hold her own against a highly evolved and physically superior monster, so by the time the credits rolled, I was completely satisfied. Pretty much everything about it makes perfect sense, so I had no trouble at all buying into this film from start to finish.

When we turn to the negatives, I have to be honest, I didn’t have any major problems with Prey. Sure, there are a few things I could nitpick about it, like a scene where Naru figures something out a bit too easily, but I didn’t have any big issues with the film. It’s just a good, old-fashioned monster movie executed to near perfection, and it has enough heart and emotion to make it work on a human level as well.

So, if you’re looking for some good new horror to watch, I highly recommend Prey. While I don’t think it’s quite as good as the original Predator, it’s hands down the best sequel the franchise has ever given us, and when December rolls around, it’s definitely going to end up in my top 10 horror films of the year.

Prey is streaming on Hulu right now.

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Written by JP Nunez

JP Nunez is a lifelong horror fan. From a very early age, he learned to love monsters, ghosts, and all things spooky, and it's still his favorite genre today.

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