Landing directly on Hulu (a choice that seemingly speaks to the film’s perceived theatrical prospects), this latest entry in a series that hasn’t been particularly memorable since the first movie proves small-boned by the genre’s standards, dropping the hulking killer in Comanche territory 300 years ago, where its trophies initially include plenty of the local fauna.
The thrills don’t look cheap, exactly, but the whole thing feels a bit cheaper, as if this were the pilot for an anthology series titled “Tales of the Predator,” charting periodic visits through history.
“A long time ago, it is said, a monster came here,” the movie says at the start, before introducing Naru (Amber Midthunder), a young female warrior who wishes to be taken seriously as a hunter because, she says, “you all think that I can’t.”
Naru soon gets the test of several lifetimes, recognizing that the alien (played by Dane DiLiegro, a 6’9″ former basketball player) isn’t an animal but something different, while also learning its strengths, weaknesses and the peculiar game that it plays in terms of who and what it chooses to kill.
When it comes to battling Predators, brains tend to trump brawn. Nevertheless, using spears and (thanks to French traders) the occasional musket in this struggle seems like an even more gargantuan task than the mano-a-alien fight that Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Dutch orchestrated 35 years ago, and he had the advantage of explosives and being able to hoist tree trunks.
“Prey” works best in the context of an old-fashioned B horror movie, dropping a monster in a (very) remote locale, where almost no one can hear you scream.
“Prey” premieres Aug. 5 on Hulu. It’s rated R.