The real problem with the Predator franchise is that, after the historic first chapter, the rest have been films that have failed to appeal to everyone. What the public liked, the critics did not like and vice versa and the boxoffice got in the way, which always recorded low numbers, net of sequels that were still trying to try new approaches, even interesting ones, failing however in the commercialization of the project. Predators of 2010 and The Predator of 2018 are the only two who, while not finding the approval of the majority of the public, dared something different, given that the classic Predator style had already failed in the 1990 sequel.
So, in order not to throw away a potential winning brand, 20th Century Studios (which is now reorganized under the direction of Disney) try the direct streaming card on Disney + and a temporal location prior to what is narrated, creating with Prey a prequel not even close: we move in 1719, where the classic feral Predator collides with a Comanche tribewhile a girl tries to make her way in the hunt and be recognized by her own group.
On the other hand, the title changes but the substance remains unchanged: from Predator to Prey the step is short and it is a distinct change in the narrative logic of events. In the quest for a suitable opponent, the ferocious alien will start with small animals, then discover and focus their efforts on the human race, still devoid of technology, but capable of exploiting the intellect and the natural predisposition to survivalso as to transform an innocent prey into a bloodthirsty predator, by surgical execution.
Prey somehow, in being functional and well balanced in its realization, it’s also a warning as to why the franchise never had the success it hoped for; basically, everything is summed up in the difficulty of exploring a primordial concept like that of hunting.
Prey is without a doubt one of the best products dedicated to the alien Yautja
The eventual success of Prey, therefore, is all to be found in the unprecedented narrative framework, with a contextualization of sure interest., which unfortunately is consumed in a handful of scenes, in particular when – for the umpteenth time – after an initial experimental and also interesting phase, we return to the simplistic montage of scenes on how the Predator thinks and moves, on knowing his equipment for the right offensive, with some small variations on the theme; on balance, however, the final resolution always runs on the ground already beaten for several decades now.
Could more have been done? Hard to say, given that Prey is without a doubt one of the best products dedicated to the alien Yautjaable to fit into a perfect triptych together with Predators and The Predator, or rather all variations of a genre – indeed, of a film – which have tried to build their own narrative basis for possible sequels.
Who knows, maybe the choice of destining it to the streaming audience could meet with greater luck and try to build something around, for example direct sequels to this chapter made by the same valid hand behind Cloverfield Lane, Dan Trachtenberg. However, Prey somehow celebrates the best and worst of the Predators franchise and in the very end it seems to ask the spectators themselves if they are really interested in hypothetical sequels. The choice is yours, but exclusively in streaming: in the cinema, now, the Predator struggles to work.
Genre: action, science fiction
Regia: Dan Trachtenberg
Soundtrack: Sarah Schachner
Interpreters: Amber Midthunder, Dakota Beavers, Stormee Kipp, Michelle Thrush
Duration: 99 minutes