“Prey”

The period sci-fi horror film “Prey” tells the story of a young Comanche woman and her efforts to save her people from an alien invader. Set in the 1700s, the film is a routine predator-and-prey story that seems pointless, unoriginal, and boring. Putting a spin on the setting doesn’t change the fact that this is an unexceptional and unexciting entry in the franchise.

Naru (Amber Midthunder) is a fierce and highly skilled warrior. She’s grown up in a family of hunters, roaming the Great Plains with men who never fail to underestimate her. Their attitudes eventually change when a highly evolved alien predator arrives on the planet. Naru must face off with the beast and his technically advanced arsenal, using her wits to outsmart him and keep her tribe alive.

There are exactly three good things that I can say about this movie. One, It’s refreshing to see a story with a female Native American lead character. It’s always welcome to see more stories about women. Two, Midthunder is terrific as Naru. She has a strong screen presence that in turn makes the character instantly likeable, and she easily has the chops to carry the entire movie. Midthunder radiates an attitude and flair that reminds me of Aubrey Plaza, and I’m excited to watch her in future projects. Lastly, the cinematography (by Jeff Cutter) is stunning, with gorgeous landscape shots that look a whole lot better than you’d expect. Too bad all of these positives are wasted on such a lackluster project.

The story is too basic, and the CGI animals are laughably mediocre. They’re so cartoonish that I was instantly taken out of the story. It’s ridiculous and not fun to watch the predator attacking animals that are sorely outmatched for an alien species. Where’s the sport in a super advanced creature battling a snake, rabbit, wolf (or humans, for that matter)? A predator would likely have no interest in prey that’s so primitive. o matter how smart Naru is, she’s going to have a tough time beating the technologically advanced predator with simple weaponry. It’s a battle that just doesn’t work without modern warfare, as it’s an unfair fight. The film’s setting ultimately proves to be its downfall.

The script is also lifeless throughout. The storyline is predictable. The tough woman angle is a good one, and Naru uses her wits to outsmart the invader. That’s great, but a majority of the film is spent with everyone telling her that she’s not a capable hunter. What’s fun and enjoyable about that?

When watching an action film like this, all I ask is to be entertained for a couple of hours. With its boring and overdone fight sequences, “Prey” even fails to pass this most basic test. I completely lost interest in the film just an hour into it (which made it even more of a chore to finish) because of something that doesn’t happen often: I found it just too difficult to suspend disbelief.

By: Louisa Moore

18 comments

  1. “I completely lost interest in the film just an hour into it”

    Pretty obvious that you actually stopped watching the movie at this point. I mean, God, how IS she gonna kill the Predator with “just a bow and arrow”?

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    1. I assure you I watched the entire movie. I never write a review if I am unable, for any reason, to finish a film in its entirety. I know how she defeated the Predator (I didn’t want to write any spoilers in the review), and I stand behind my comments on the film. Please don’t make baseless accusations; it’s okay to disagree, and I welcome discussion and differing opinions on this website.

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    2. OH, com’on, the ending was lame and you know it. A bazillion-to-one shot and she wins the fight. Lame, lame, lame. I wish they would have made it with “just a bow and arrow”.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. So glad you loved the movie, Dees. I just couldn’t get past the bow and arrow vs. a Predator with highly advanced technology. Happy you were able to overlook that, I simply couldn’t. There are far too many better sci-fi, action, and horror films out there than this one.

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  2. This movie was so bad. Thank you for writing an honest review. It looked good but was awful. I agree with everything you said here.

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  3. Somehow you write reviews for your website, I’d suggest opening a Coffee Shop. Somehow you missed the intention of the movie and you decided to ignore the concept of “Suspension of disbelief”. Bow and arrows bothered you? Stop making reviews bro, you lost me at not understanding movies.

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    1. Yeah, battling a predator with advanced weaponry versus primitive weapons was an unfair fight. It was ridiculous. I’m not so great at making coffee, LOL! Thanks for taking the time to comment.

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  4. Did you even watch the same movie I did?? If you did, did you watch the whole movie?? If you did, you would have noticed that she learns how to him, where to attack him, how to be invisible to him and she turns his own weapon against him. That’s how she kills him.. The fact that you say she fights him with just a bow and arrow tells Mr that you may have watched it but definitely did not pay attention to it.

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    1. I watched it and I paid attention. I didn’t want to put spoilers in the review, I’m talking about the initial primitive weapons scenes. Still hated the movie. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

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  5. Serious question: do you like *any* of the Predator films? Or any sci-fi/action films, for that matter? The “primitive vs advanced weapon” trope is nothing new to the genre, so the fact that this seems to be your major hang up is a bit of a head scratcher.

    If your argument is actually “this film relies too heavily on familiar tropes to hold my interest,” then I’d say that’s a bit more of a fair criticism, and one that I partially agree with. But I’d still argue that this film has a lot to offer that you seem to have totally overlooked.

    The performances, the choreography, and the cinematography are all well-executed. There is just enough character development and emotional context without bloating the movie with 30 minutes of backstory. Also, the fact that this was made lovingly and respectfully alongside the Comanche nation and features a Native woman in the lead role is pretty groundbreaking for the cinema world.

    But if these things aren’t enough to get you through even the first hour of the film, I must ask you what you would have liked to see to make it more compelling? What Shyamalan twist is this missing for you? What’s another movie in its genre that you think did a better job with similar resources?

    Not being catty here, asking genuinely 🙂

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    1. I’m a big fan of science fiction and action films, and the original “Predator” is terrific. The cinematography in “Prey” is great, but wasted. I watched the entire film, I just became bored with it after the first hour. I can think of dozens of sci-fi / action films that do it better. Not sure what you mean by similar resources; the film’s budget?

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  6. Yea I really don’t know what this director was thinking making this fictional intellect being lose to savage hunters with their “primitive weapons” how naive of him. Those writers must of been smoking some good peyote I bet. Its crazy that Naru makes it look so unbelievable killing this creature with her little bow and arrow. #sarcasm #DontworryNOspoilers

    Truly saddened you missed the clever approach that this underdog story was about. I disagree because this movie did do its job in giving the franchise new life and I’ll add it delivers on authentic and accurate representation. I’d highly encourage a rewatch because I think you’d be surprised to know (Pocahontas) didn’t walk around with just a “simple bow and arrow”. #betterchoiceofwords #ifitbleedswecankillit

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  7. It’s amazing how such a mediocre film is getting such rave reviews. As you pointed out: the CGI animals were very poor. I also didn’t like the modern-sounding dialogue.

    Liked by 1 person

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