Spoiler Warning: The Following Post Contains Spoiler For The Latest Film, PreyThe Hunt is back on with Hulu and 20th Century Fox’s joint production of Prey. After 12 years, the Predator franchise has gone back to its roots and engaged in what made one of Hollywood’s most famous monsters so interesting and terrifying, to begin with.
The film follows Naru, a young Comanche woman in the 18th century who is out to prove herself to her peers in the village that she is capable to complete her kühtaamia. Unfortunately for her, she is not the only one that seeks out the thrill of the hunt as the Predator makes haste to claim their trophy’s in The Great Plains. Much like its predecessors, Prey also boasts an impressive cast roster.
Prey is set before the United States’ westward expansion and the Louisiana Purchase, most of the Great Plains were occupied by French colonists capitalizing on bison skins. To represent this is the leader of a fur-trapper party credited as Big Beard.
Big Beard isn’t so much a character as he is a caricature. He serves to represent the unfettered greed that came with European colonialism and showcases the cruelty when hunting the bison population for their pelts. Thankfully, his stupidity and greed will eventually get the best of him in the most cathartic way possible.
Raphael is a member of the fur-trapper party and is given a little more character than his compatriots as he is the only one who can communicate in different languages. But sympathy for them is cast aside when they assist Big Beard in using Naru and her brother, Taabe as bait to capture the Predator.
Raphael seems to only serve as a character to contrast with his cartoonish party members and to advance Naru’s observational skills in regard to the Predator. Other than that they’re the ones to bequeath the horror franchises’ Easter Egg flintlock to Naru in exchange for medicine.
A member of Wasape’s group, Itsee is the more laid back and blunt member of the group but doesn’t appear to show any animosity towards Naru. Yet they don’t think to stop Wasape and Ania from beating up Naru into submission.
Itsee, unfortunately, doesn’t get much screen time before being caught in the Predator’s cross-hairs. With what the audience receives, they at least can see that Itsee is a competent warrior but when faced against the beast who “makes trophies of men”, it’s no contest. Itsee is a character to show off how brutal the Predator can be, even when fleeing with weapon in hand.
Ania is another proud warrior of the Comanche tribe and a member of Wasape’s group. It’s assumed that Ania also disapproves of Naru’s attempts to become a hunter to the point that Ania assists another member of their tribe to beat Naru up to a pulp.
Not a great start to character development, yet it’s what makes Ania stand out from the others in those final moments. What could’ve been a throwaway character, Ania is at least shown to get a few hits on the Predator, achieving Mac status from the original film. It’s a neat moment to make Ania’s character stand out a lot and show off how dangerously close the Predator wishes to be to its Prey.
Wasape is the hot-headed and misogynistic member of Naru’s tribe. From the moment he’s onscreen, he is always weary of Naru’s abilities in the hunt and finds any excuse to belittle or abuse her. His prowess and skill aren’t necessarily called into question, but it’s his overconfidence from these assets and his dismissal of Naru’s warnings that prove to be his undoing.
As to how the fur-trappers represent the greed of the hunt, Wasape’s character represents how hunting is seen as a more male-dominated field. Their village has set gender roles in their society and Wasape is there to enforce them since he goes out of his way to dissuade Naru from joining their ranks. It’s an archaic mindset, yet it’s what makes him a more interesting character to help exemplify those themes of the hunt in Prey that it’s only fitting he’s the first on-screen kill from the Predator.
Aruka is Naru and Taabe’s mother as well as the Comanche tribes’ chief physician as she is the one to have taught Naru medicine and first aid. A loving and protective mother, Aruka only wishes for what’s best for their children even if they’re through the set norms of the tribe.
Veteran actor Michelle Thrush gives Aruka the gravitas and wit that can keep her children humbled. It’s in a lot of her shared conversations with Naru where the film’s main themes stick out and the two bounce off each other so well, that when Naru’s arc comes full circle, it is with the shared glance the mother and daughter share at the end, that solidifies that Naru has proven Aruka wrong in their assessment.
The iconic Predator makes quite the impact in its deadly quest for the perfect game. Taking on the same suit as the late Kevin Peter Hall did in the first two films, Dane DiLiegro brings his 6’9′ stature to great effect as the fearsome alien.
Aside from a different appearance from previous Predators,Prey‘s Predator seems to have a more battle-hungry persona than others have shown in previous films. Instead of picking off its prey from a distance, this Predator appears to relish in close-hand combat as it goes up against grizzlies and humans alike without being goaded into it.
Sarii is Naru’s faithful companion and trusted ally. Diligent, alert, and a great tracker, Sarii has all the great makings of a hunting dog and that’s all in thanks to how Naru trained them.
From following simple & complex commands to acting independently to draw in/away creatures that are five times bigger than themselves. Sarii’s obedience and unconditional love for Naru shine throughout the film, making them easily one of the best characters in the films for their unyielding devotion. He’s possibly one of the best animal performances since Brandy in Once Upon a Time In Hollywood.
Naru’s older brother and the tribes’ War Chief, Taabe played by Dakota Beavers is a skilled hunter and a loving brother who helps Naru with how to hunt when preparing for her kühtaamia. Throughout the film, he does his best to motivate and uplift her even when it sometimes falls on deaf ears.
His strength and brawn are ultimately put to the test when he protects his sister from the Predator near the climax. In an awesome display of weapon handling, Taabe is able to stand toe-to-toe against the hulking beast long enough for Naru to escape. Dakota Beavers plays Taabe wonderfully and his chemistry with his on-screen sister is one of the film’s main strong points.
The film’s protagonist and quite possibly the one deserving of the “Predator” title is none other than Amber Midthunder’s Naru. With a knack for tracking and a determination to prove her peers wrong, Naru undergoes her kühtaamia in the most bizarre way possible when she marks the Predator to be her Prey.
It is through her lens and observation that she can discern the creature’s traits and weaknesses. Through her cunning, she is able to overcome the Predator and use the environment and its technology against it like Arnie’s Dutch from the first film. Though what saves her, in the end, isn’t last-minute quick thinking but a well-executed trap that showcases who the titular Prey was all along. Her fierce determination and skill for the hunt easily make her one of the best characters if not the best protagonist to come out of the Predator franchise.
Next: 9 Ways Prey Is Like The Old-School Predator Movies