Where I Watched It: hulu

English Audio Description Provided By: Descriptive Video Works

It’s odd that one of the films of the summer, is a Hulu exclusive. Prey is getting the kind of word of mouth where I’ve already seen multiple critics remind their readers/viewers that a month of Hulu would likely be cheaper than a movie ticket to see this in theatres, and that it’s good enough to warrant that trip, so just get Hulu for a month.

And they aren’t wrong. In a weird way, that kind of quantifies how much your streaming service is worth. If you find yourself sitting at home more and more, then having more subscriptions is just like transferring your movie tickets to streamers. Back when I could see and drove myself to the theatres, I easily saw at least one film a week, sometimes two or three. So, if we say i averaged 6 movies in theatres, that’s anywhere from 60-80 dollars depending on ticket prices. Then, I always did the Redbox for films I hadn’t caught in theatres, which pushed me to probably about 100 bucks. So, if my streaming services stay under that, I’m really doing what I did before, just not in a huge theatre where everyone around me still has Covid and half the audio description head sets don’t work.

The sad thing is, even with all of that knowledge, Prey feels like one of those rare films that I still have to say, it should have started in theatres. It feels so cinematic in nature, and if I was sighted, I’m sure i would have loved to see these lush landscapes on a film. Director Dan trachtenberg, who gave us the terrific 10 Cloverfield Lane, expertly directs an origin story for Predator, a franchise that has seen it’s ups and downs… and downs.

He knew fans would have a strong reaction to this, and they have, Going origin, sending Predator back 300 years to fight an indigenous group of hunters, and giving us a hero to root for by casting Amber mid thunder was the right way to go. Not only did he manage to bring representation to the table in a way that felt entirely natural, and told a story within a story about a girl who is trying to prove herself as a warrior within her tribe. She’s fighting a male dominated hierarchy, bears, lions, French trappers, and now she has to fight an alien? Arnold can’t even touch this girl.

The side characters are perhaps the weakest, with no one but midthunder ever feeling like they are meant to survive the film. Sometimes, in an ensemble like this, you’re able to create secondary characters we root for, only to see them sadly die. The closest thing we come to connecting to a different character is the dog in the film. I spent more time in Prey uttering “If they kill this fucking dog…” than I have in quite a while. in case you’re wondering why i didn’t give an otherwise perfect film a perfect grade, it was my realization that I cared more about the fate of the dog than I did any of the men in the tribe, or the trapper/hunters.

To be fair to Dan, he did make the most of killing them off, using inventive kills, and making it quite gory. Also, because this is 300 years ago, not only are these humans void of technology to back them up, but this Predator is a little less advanced than other versions. He might really be the first to have landed on this planet, and later versions knew to be better prepared.

I can see Prey having sequel potential, as there is a lot of time between this period, and the 1980’s, so if they want to revisit putting Predator somewhere else in time, he could fight literally anywhere. Even a prequel to Prey, sending Predator further back could be fun.

As far as the audio description goes, it’s great. I hate that no humans got credit for it, because it’s that good. There are some times where someone says something in a foreign language and it’s not dubbed, but remember that none of these humans speak the same language, and I think those lines are merely for effect, and not meant to be translated necessarily.

in the end, it would have been cool to see Prey in theatres, and I think it would have done quite well. But since it’s on Hulu, there’s really no reason to not watch this, if horror is your thing. And, I really hope we see a lot more of Amber Midthunder. She’s a very nice surprise.

Final Grade: A-

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