GOOD: Prey

Amber Midthunder as Naru in Prey 2022

Released: 21 July 2022

Though the titular antagonists may be some of sci-fi’s most iconic villains, the Predator franchise doesn’t boast the best reputation. The original 1987 movie remains a sci-fi action classic, but subsequent entries have been progressively worse, culminating in the abysmal 2018 movie The Predator. Therefore, when a straight-to-streaming prequel was announced, expectations were decidedly low.

Set in the early 18th century, Prey follows Naru, a young Comanche female who dreams of becoming a hunter. Though she’s dismissed by the men in her tribe, she sets out to prove herself, encountering one of the franchise’s iconic villains in the process. What follows is a battle of wits that tests Naru in every way imaginable as she pits herself against the alien.

Directed by Dan Trachtenberg (10 Cloverfield Lane), Prey is by far the most understated movie in the entire franchise. It’s a tense and brilliantly crafted installment that perfectly captures the spirit of previous movies, recapturing the brilliance of the first film without trying to emulate its ’80s charm. The franchise’s reputation combined with the fact that it was released directly to Disney+ certainly lowered expectations, making Prey one of the most pleasant surprises of the year.