20 April 2024
From Prey (2022 on Disney TV+)

Disney+ Review – Prey (2022)

It seems apt to be writing this review in the light of the week of madness that has transpired in Hollywood. Madness is putting it lightly, frankly, and the reverberations of the decisions made are not only still being felt in the immediate aftermath but will no doubt continue to do so for months, even years to come. It’s apt, of course, as one of this week’s big new releases, Prey, shares a lot in common with the other most-talked about now non-cinema (or streaming) event this week, Warner BrothersBatgirl. The former, was a new entry into a somewhat muddled franchise hoping to breathe new life into it, while the latter was seen as a new stepping stone in the long-failing DCEU. One succeeds, the other we will never get to judge.

As is ever the name of the game in the film world these days (at least at budget levels), IPs reign supreme and as long as the box office receipts keep piling up and the money keeps rolling in, it will be forever more. That said, some dormant franchises have tried their hand at regenerating themselves with new filmmakers, intriguing stories, and twisting their mythologies enough to whet audience appetites for another dip and Predator has been through a few.

The much-hated Alien vs Predator duo of films, Nimrod Antal‘s 2010 sequel Predators and Shane Black‘s 2018 “soft reboot” have come and gone and none succeeded in regenerating the invisible killer but Dan Trachtenberg‘s special quasi-prequel/reboot/affectionate standalone is a different beast. Literally. This one takes us way back to before 1987 and into the 1700s. 1719 to be exact amongst the Comanche Nation: here, a skilled but inexperienced warrior named Naru (a superb Amber Midthunder) is trying to prove her worth amongst her tribe, both as a fighter and a woman. Soon, they are menaced by an unknown assailant who emerges as a Predator, one with a hugely advanced alien arsenal that threatens their very existence.

Taking the core elements of what made the first film so successful – big action, sci-fi leanings, and subtle social, economic, and political undertones – he and co-writer Patrick Aison have stripped back both what had gone before and what may be expected, focusing on the essence while mixing up genres to bring us a ferociously unique angle on the story. Propelled by Jeff Cutter‘s bold cinematography and Sarah Schachner’s piercing soundtrack, this is a fierce, energetic, and thoughtful entry that provides further proof to studios that not all IPs have to be identical. Trust your filmmakers and you get results like this. Don’t be Warner Bros.

★★★★


Action, Thriller | USA, 2022 | Disney TV+ | 5th August 2022 (UK) | 20th Century Studios | Dir.Dan Trachtenberg | Amber Midthunder, Dakota Beavers, Stormee Kipp, Michelle Thrush, Julian Black Antelope, Dane DiLiegro


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