The seventh installment of the Predator franchise, Prey (2022), is “a breath of fresh air” from the previous films we have seen. The film stars Amber Midthunder as Naru, a young Comanche woman who desires to prove herself a hunter to her brother and tribe. She finds herself going up against a Predator who is also on the hunt on the Great Plains in 1719. Hunter vs. Hunter is a common trope the previous Predator has become known for, but this time, it has a woman lead front in center against the Predator.
Even if Prey is an Alien film, we spend most of the screen time with the human cast. But, that’s not to suggest that the action we expect from this franchise is lacking. If anything, the time we spent getting to know Comanche, but more specifically, Naru makes us more invested in the outcome of the intense battles. The Predator in this film is played by Dane Robert DiLiegrois, not unlike the previous Predators we have seen. Still, the Predator presents us with more depth of the predator’s culture that the earlier films have been expanding on.
The film was beautifully shot and makes the best of the environment. They are immersing the viewer in the lay of the land and the people that live there. Those expecting intense fights won’t be disappointed with the fighting scenes. Given that most battles are shot in broad daylight, it presents the Predator in a new light.
The Comanche tribe was known for being hunters, gathers, and traders in history. The film spends half of the screen time showing some aspects, from, how they hunt and work as a tribe, the selection of war chiefs, and their way of living. The Comanche tribe were known for their outstanding skills with horses, and some of those skills are seen in the film. We get to see how, well they adapt to riding horses and how they use them on the hunt. Given the period when the film takes place, we can’t expect to see all the Comanche Tribe riding horses, but we can see some aspects of what would be.
Prey also presents the strong mental resolution that the Comanche Tribe has as hunters and warriors. Allowing for a believable story in which we can imagine the Comanche tribe members going against a Predator and being victorious. The Predator Franchise is every film that has always brought a group of warriors, fighters, and hunters against the predators, and the Comanche are worthy opponents. Prey acknowledges the selection of war chiefs in the Comanche tribe, which is done by a majority vote when Taab, portrayed by Dakota Beavers, is voted a war chief. Prey shows Taab is more than worthy of the mantle and demonstrates that the war chief is an important role not just anyone can fill.
Naru is portrayed as an intelligent and resourceful woman. While being looked down upon by some tribe members, Naru has a solid ambition to prove her worth to her tribe. As the film progresses, Naru proves herself to be a solid character that we cannot help, but enjoy watching and cheering for. Her resourcefulness is shown throughout the film; so, when she eventually goes against the predator, it makes sense that she would find a way to win. Like the previous protagonists in the Predator franchise that have gone against a Predator(s), Naru is more than a formidable opponent for the Predator.
Naru is not a one-dimensional character; she doesn’t play the damsel in distress that we often see in, the Predator franchise. Her quick wits and heart for her family, and tribe demonstrate the characteristics of a hunter and war chief. The role of the war chief was previously held by her brother, Taab, and with his sacrifice by the end of the film, she now has that role after defeating the Predator. She demonstrates what women can achieve with a strong mindset and hard work.