While Bullet Train was supposedly the major release of last week – all the buzz has surrounded the little-known Predator spin-off Prey.
It has quickly become the biggest ever launch on Disney Plus’ adult-orientated Star Channel – and received glowing praise to boot – so that’s why it’s being reviewed instead.
After a fair few failed attempts at rebooting the Predator franchise, you'd be forgiven for not wanting to give the latest instalment a chance. The original, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, became a much-loved cult classic but beyond that, the franchise has mostly underwhelmed critics and audiences alike with a mixed bag of follow-ups – especially the terrible 2018 flop The Predator.
Director Dan Trachtenberg (the also well-received 10 Cloverfield Lane) injects new life into the series by inserting the infamous creature into the 18th-century. This meant having to find new and creative ways for characters to survive against the advanced technology of the warrior creature. What could have been nothing more than a gimmick is ultimately a well-crafted breath of fresh air.
Prey is somewhat an origin story for the Predator (Dane DiLiegro), who is responsible for monitoring this new world he's been dropped into, while destroying anyone or anything that gets in the way. The film also works as a coming-of-age story for its protagonist. Naru (The Ice Road’s Amber Midthunder) is a young-and-undervalued tribe member who longs to be seen as a respected hunter and protector, like her older brother Taabe (Dakota Beavers). She is met with scepticism and resistance – not just from the male hunters, but also her own mother.
Midthunder is fantastic in the lead role. There's always a sense of dread with her performance and it's contagious – my heart was racing. We truly care for this character and as a result, we're rooting for her and her safety – which is the key in making scenes so much more intense and impactful.
And don’t be fooled that Prey is on Disney Plus, this is not a watered-down sci-fi flick sprinkled in glitter. This is as violent and graphic as you’d expect (and perhaps hope for) from a Predator movie. It could very well be the goriest instalment yet.
Prey not only ticks the boxes of what most fans will want from the franchise, it's also the best one since the original – and quite literally the Predator movie we’ve been ‘Prey-ing’ for...
ESP Rating: 4/5
Disney+ Star Channel Exclusive, Out Now
Cast: Amber Midthunder, Dakota Beavers, Michelle Thrush, Stormee Kipp & Dane Diliegro
Running Time: 1 Hr 40 Mins
Director: Dan Trachtenberg