The year 2022 has been a solid one for horror. And the gifts keep coming, with many more upcoming horror movies on the horizon. Fans of the genre lucky enough to have a Hulu subscription were recently treated to Hulu’s Prey, a critically well-received prequel/reboot to the Predator franchise (which also happens to be one of the best action movies). While most critics enjoyed the movie, some fans took issue with the film’s premise.
Prey film director Dan Trachtenberg spoke about how he handled the odd critique some fans levied at his prequel. Namely that one young person with so little resources ended up being such a real threat to the Predator. He told BBC’s Screen Time podcast that it seemed like people had forgotten a component of the earlier movie, saying:
Trachtenberg seems to believe that audiences took issue with the way Prey’s protagonist Naru (Amber Midthunder) is able to battle The Predator with just her skills and understanding of the land. But they forgot that it wasn't until those concepts were embraced by Dutch in the original that he really stood a chance.
It’s not hard to come to the same conclusion as Trachtenberg, seeing as–spoiler alert for a 35-year-old film–the original Predator ends with Arnold Schwarzenegger’s character Major Alan “Dutch” Schaefer handling a Predator in a very similar manner as Prey’s lead.
The only fundamental differences between the Predator and Prey protagonists are Naru–played brilliantly by Amber Midthunder–is a member of the Comanche tribe and would already have the basic skills and knowledge she uses to aid her throughout the film. In contrast, Dutch has to learn through trial and error that guns and muscles aren’t enough to win the game of survival against a Predator.
Honestly, I wouldn’t mind seeing Dutch and Naru go head to head in a battle of wits. When asked, Prey star Amber Midthunder had no problem weighing in on whether her character could take Arnold’s. I don't think time travel would be that out of place in a Predator movie, would it? Let's do this thing, Hulu!
The critique of Prey’s Naru is eerily similar to the bewildering critique of Daisy Ridley’s Rey in the Disney Star Wars sequel trilogy made by some vocal Star Wars fans. It's the type of outcry that has come up time and time again with female-led stories.
However, Director Dan Trachtenberg has brilliantly used the audience's flawed memory of the first film to his advantage, creating a tension-fraught thriller that keeps you on the edge of your seat. You watch in awe at a protagonist who is outmatched on every technological level and is forced to overcome using only her wits and skills.
The choice of setting Prey in a more primitive period was a refreshing direction for the Predator series and is a direction I wouldn't mind seeing other franchises embrace. How about an Alien movie set in the old west?
Seriously, Hulu, I am full of good ideas, just like this one. Call me.
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Ryan graduated from Missouri State University with a BA in English/Creative Writing. An expert in all things horror, Ryan enjoys covering a wide variety of topics. He's also a lifelong comic book fan and an avid watcher of Game of Thrones and House of the Dragon.