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Film / Prey (2022)

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"They hunt to live. It lives to hunt."
"If it bleeds, we can kill it."

Prey is a 2022 Action Horror film directed by Dan Trachtenberg (10 Cloverfield Lane). The film stars Amber Midthunder, Dakota Beavers, Michelle Thrush, and Dane DiLiegro, the latter of whom plays the Feral Predator. The film is the fifth installment in the Predator film series, serving as a shake-up for the franchise, as it focuses on a time period in the distant past rather than the modern day, and is also the first in the series to be produced by Disney.

Set in 1719, in the Great Plains of North America, the film focuses on the young Comanche hunter Naru, who aspires to be a great warrior. When she discovers a danger that threatens her camp, she sets out to prove herself, even as she soon learns that the danger is stronger than she ever imagined. And faster. And not of this Earth...

The film was released on Hulu in the United States and on Disney+ internationally on the 5th of August 2022, then on DVD and Blu-ray in October 2023. Trachtenberg has also implied that ideas are being discussed for a possible expansion of the franchise. In 2024, it was announced that Trachtenberg would direct another standalone picture in the franchise, titled Badlands. Additionally, a second Prey film was also confirmed to be in development.

Previews: Teaser, Official Trailer.

Prey contains examples of:

  • Absurdly Sharp Blade:
    • As always, the Predator's array of bladed weapons slice through flesh and bone like a hot knife through butter, easily lopping off limbs (including its own) and heads every fight. Bonus points goes to its Absurdly Sharp Shield, which not only cuts straight through tree trunks like nothing, but it can cut through solid stone.
    • Naru's tomahawk deserves an honourable mention too, considering it effortlessly buries itself in her enemies with every strike and throw. Granted, a significant portion of the movie emphasises her diligence in sharpening it.
  • Action Girl: Naru naturally fulfills this trope, being the one to face off against the Predator. Hell, she's shown as an effective fighter before she even fights the Predator, winning a one-on-one fight with a fellow Comanche tribe member and killing the surviving members of the French hunting party on her own.
  • Actually Pretty Funny: Taabe and Naru's mother laughs with Naru as the latter makes a joke at Taabe's expense.
  • Agent Scully: Taabe and other Comanche hunters have a hard time believing Naru's claims that there's something monstrous in the plains. They come around eventually.
  • Always a Bigger Fish: Before it meets any humans, the Predator spends its time hunting Earth's own predators, each more dangerous than the last; a snake, a wolf, a bear, and finally the Comanche hunters and the French trappers. Appropriately enough, it goes for the kill when its prey are in the middle of their own hunts.
  • An Arm and a Leg:
    • During the Predator's hunt, several of its victims end up losing arms and legs before the killing blows are delivered. Raphael manages to limp away from the battle minus a leg, and in the process of treating him Naru learns that the Predator can't see bodies if they're cold, but will follow a fresh blood trail.
    • Naru does this to the French captain, using him as bait for the Predator so she can shoot it in the head, and using the trapper's severed leg to lure the Predator into an ambush after that.
    • As in previous installments, the Predator loses an arm, this time after Naru tricks it into severing its right arm using its shield.
  • Artistic License – History:
    • The timeframe established by the title card of 1719 doesn't completely jibe with the way the Comanche environment and culture in real life would have been at that time. In 1719, the Comanche Nation primarily lived in modern day Texas, which at that time was being encroached on by Spain, creating the territory that would be aptly called the Comanchería years later. More egregiously, the Comanche only made the transition to a nomadic horse culture after moving north into Colorado in the 1830s (horses were first introduced in America by the Spanish, with Native Americans getting them by either trade or theft, both things requiring direct contact). The original script actually didn't include horses at all, but this was changed after producer and cultural consultant Jhane Myers, who is a member of the Comanche Nation, insisted upon their inclusion, saying that "You can't have Comanche without horses!"
    • While French voyageurs were usually at the forefront of European incursions into the North American inland, they would not have gotten as far west as the Great Plains by 1719. They also would have been fur traders, not trappers. In fact the first reported contact would be in 1739 with two French brothers.
    • Furthermore, there were absolutely no reported conflicts between a French expedition and the Comanche. In fact, their only real conflict during this time period would be against the Spanish trying to expand into their territory (not any less because the Spanish would assimilate Apache tribes at war with the Comanche, effectively becoming entangled in their conflicts) and later on with the United States during their own expansion. The French in general didn't have a lot of direct interaction with the Comanche, with most of their influence being felt through French-aligned tribes like the Osage and the Pawnee, either through trade or conflict.
  • Artistic License – Medicine:
    • A character uses an herb that causes their body temperature to drop so that they can't be seen with thermographic vision. There is no medication, herbal or otherwise, that would cause a person's body temperature to rapidly drop to match the ambient temperature, and if someone's body temperature did somehow drop that low without causing death (at least instant death, as chances are it would eventually come if the person was left that way), that person would be incapacitated and unable to fight alien hunters.
  • Artistic License – Physics:
    • A character hides from the alien's thermographic vision by taking an herb that causes their body temperature to drop to the ambient temperature. Ignoring the biological lack of realism of people being able to easily survive their body cooling that much, it takes hours for a human body to reach ambient temperature, even if it's dead, and this is shown as working in a few minutes. Generally, there is no way to dissipate heat as instantly quick as seen in the film, and even if there was, the Predator would have probably still seen an alerting cloud of heat rapidly exiting the body in question.
  • Asshole Victim:
    • One of the Comanche hunters that is tasked with finding Naru, Wasape, is nothing but an asshole to her, so naturally, you won't shed a tear seeing him getting massacred by the Predator. Unlike the other hunters, he doesn't even go down fighting.
    • The French trackers' leader is a massive sack of shit who leads a party to massacre the bison only for their pelts, cages both Naru and Taabe, tortures the latter, and later abandons his men. After Naru captures him and cuts off his leg and then uses him as bait, as his men had previously cut Taabe and tied him and Naru to a stake as Predator bait, it's damn satisfying to see him get cut down by the Predator.
  • Asskicking Leads to Leadership: Taabe and later Naru become warchief of the tribe when they successfully prove their prowess as a hunter by killing a threat to the tribe and bringing its head back as proof.
  • Awesomeness by Analysis: Naru's main strength as a hunter is her ability to learn things about her prey by observing them in the field. She learns multiple things about the Predator by watching how it interacts with the environment, namely: how it only goes after armed/dangerous prey after it doesn't attack her while she's caught in a bear trap, how it sees via heat due to how it initially can't see Raphael because his body heat has been lowered by the herb she gave him, and how the arrows it fires will always follow the red dots on its mask.
  • Awesome Moment of Crowning: Taabe and Naru both get traditional ceremonies and celebrations when each receives their warchief staves.
  • Badass Boast:
    • Naru proclaims that no matter what is threatening her village, she will kill it. She also gets a pretty kickass line when using the French tracker leader as bait, monologuing as he tries going for the gun.
      "You think that I'm not a hunter like you... That I'm not a threat... That's what makes me dangerous."
    • When Naru starts wondering whether they can kill the Predator, Taabe confidently states that "If it bleeds, we can kill it."
  • Badass Native: Naru, Taabe, and the other Comanche warriors in the movie.
  • Bait-and-Switch:
    • After Naru escapes from the quicksand, she ends up covered in mud, which one might expect to lead to her discovering the Predator can't see through it, just like how Dutch did in the first Predator. Not only does the Predator not show up, Naru never thinks to exploit mud in this fashion. Naru instead uses a special medicinal flower to lower her body temperature, with the bog instead serving as part of her final trap for the Predator.
    • Naru happens upon a herd of skinned bison. As this is not the usual Predator MO, a quick examination of the nearest corpse reveals a bullet hole in the skull and a discarded cigar, showing that French hunter/trappers skinned the beasts for their hides.
    • The signature triple laser sight on the Predator's mask targets a Comanche hunter, leading one to expect the poor bastard to be reduced to superheated plasma. The three dots then change position and the guy is struck down by three small arrows, revealing that the targeting system is for a different weapon.
    • During the fight with the French trackers, the Predator deploys its gauntlet on the ground in their midst, much to the confusion of the group. As prior films have demonstrated the gauntlets to contain a potent Self-Destruct Mechanism, one might expect the gauntlet to explode. Instead, the gauntlet deploys Attack Drones that tear through the party with ease.
    • As Naru tells Taabe about the beaver that chewed its own leg off to escape while the two are tied up, she holds a rock near the bear trap. Thanks to the nature of her story, even Taabe expects Naru to use the rock to set off a trap and sever her hand. However, she merely uses it to set off the trap and cut through the rope.
  • Battle Trophy: The Predator makes trophies out of the rattlesnake's skin, the coyote's skull, and the bear's blood. Naru brings back its head and Raphael's flintlock as trophies of her own at the end of the movie.
  • Bears Are Bad News: Naru finds a bear while on her hunt for the Feral Predator. It catches her scent in the wind, and she nearly dies as it chases her down, only surviving thanks to the intervention of the Predator. The Predator doesn't have nearly as hard a time dealing with it, despite taking a bloody mauling.
  • Bear Trap: The French hunters have strewn these all throughout the wilderness to catch whatever animals happen to come by. They're fairly dull, so they don't cause serious injuries when they catch something/someone. The Predator even gets caught in two, not that it helps, and it effortlessly uses one against the trappers as a throwing weapon.
  • Beat Them at Their Own Game: Naru kills the Predator by stealing the targeting system for its bolt launcher and baiting it into trying to shoot her.
  • Belated Injury Realization: Crossed with Mortal Wound Reveal. A wolf charges at the Predator, which slashes at it. The wolf turns around and prepares to charge again... and then its guts fall out.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Naru is able to kill the Predator and gain the respect of her village, but many of the tribe's warriors are dead, including her brother, and the fate of the village is up in the air due to the mid-credits tease that more Predator ships arrive with unknown intentions, not to mention the fact that the pistol she is given ultimately ends up in the hands of another Predator centuries later.
  • Blade on a Rope: Naru wields a tomahawk with a rope tied around the hilt to allow her to pull it back to her.
  • Boom, Headshot!: A twofer. The first is when Naru uses the flintlock pistol to shoot the Predator in the head, which damages it non-fatally and knocks it mask off so she can steal it. The second example is when she tricks the Predator into firing off an arrow while the sights on the stolen mask are aimed at its head. The ensuing headshot is much more of a boom.
  • Bolivian Army Ending: Possibly. The movie proper ends with Naru returning to her tribe and being accepted as a warrior, but the animated credits then depict several Predator ships arriving at the village shortly thereafter, and that flintlock has to wind up in their hands somehow...
  • Call-Forward:
    • The first film established that the aliens have been coming to hunt humans on Earth for a while, and the second film confirmed that they've been coming since at least the 1700s, when at the end an elder Predator rewards Danny Glover's character with a trophy: a flintlock pistol with the engraving "Raphael Adolini 1715". The later-day Alien vs. Predator spinoffs went farther and said the Predators have been coming for over a thousand years. This film takes the reference from the end of the second film and runs with it, showing a Predator hunting humans in the early 1700s. That particular flintlock pistol is shown to have been the property of a multilingual tracker hired by the French, who gave the gun to Naru in exchange for her helping him.
    • The trappers torture Taabe by cutting him diagonally across the chest, resembling the cut Billy Sole gave himself before his death.
    • While tied up by the trappers, Taabe tells Naru, "If it bleeds, we can kill it."
    • The pouch in which Naru carries her healing herbs is similar to the good luck pouch worn by Billy in the first film.
    • Like Dutch Schaffer, the leader of the French trappers is quite the Cigar Chomper, though he's way more of a Jerkass.
  • Canine Companion: Sarii, a tracker dog who acts as a sidekick to Naru throughout the film.
  • Casting Gag: For the Japanese dub, Mutsumi Tamura (Naru) had previously voiced another Badass Native, except the last time, it was a Aztec princess rather than a Comanche warrior.
  • Central Theme: Through its multiple factions, this movie explores the fundamental concept of the predator and prey relationship, examining the contrasts between the three main forms of hunting; for sport and glory (the Predator), for money and profit (the French fur traders), and for survival (the Comanche warriors).
  • Chekhov's Gun: Quite a few, considering Naru's main ability is learning from events and making use of them when they repeat.
    • Sarii's tail gets caught in a bear trap near the beginning of the film. Later on, after Naru flees from the Predator, she finds herself caught in a similar trap that causes her to get caught by the French trackers. The Predator itself is also briefly incapacitated by one of the French trappers' bear traps.
    • Early in the film, the Predator kills a coyote and takes its skull as a trophy on its belt. As the Predator is about to kill Naru, Taabe is able to turn its attention back to him by grabbing the skull while it's distracted and stabbing the alien's leg with the skull's teeth, giving Naru a moment to escape.
    • Naru's skill with medicine saves one of the warriors after he is mauled by a mountain lion. She later realizes that her concoction makes people invisible to the Predator (by lowering their body temperature) and eats it herself so that she can lure it in close enough for a headshot.
    • The quicksand nearly kills Naru as she's out hunting. She later uses it to trap the Predator.
    • During Taabe's Big Damn Heroes moment, Naru takes note of the fact the arrow-like projectiles follow the targeting system on the Predator's helmet. She later steals the helmet and sets it up so when the Predator takes aim, it ends up firing a projectile that just circles back around and hits it in the head.
    • Naru uses the flintlock pistol she is given by one of the French trappers to later ambush the Predator and shoot it in the head, dislodging the mask that has the targeting system for its darts. This same pistol is implied, via having the same inscription and date, to be the one that is given to Harrigan as a reward for surviving the events of Predator 2.
  • Classical Hunter: The Predator is, for the first time on film, portrayed as such properly and in great detail. It begins the film studying Earth's ecosystem, hunting and skinning a rattlesnake with its fang-like wristblades, fighting a coyote in a Single-Stroke Battle, and slaying a bear with its bare hands.
  • Combat Pragmatist:
    • Naru is not nearly as big as either the Predator or the other Comanche hunters, but she makes up for it with smarts and guile. She modifies her tomahawk with a rope to make it easier to retrieve and usable as a grappling hook, she uses bait to hunt predators, she uses ambush tactics against the French trackers, and she makes use of other weapons (including the Predator's own discarded weaponry and Raphael's pistol), as well as unconventional tactics (like using a medicinal flower to lower her own body heat and render herself relatively invisible to the Predator). She outlines this late in the film as a Badass Boast, detailing that others perceive her as not a threat because of her size, which is exactly what makes her so dangerous.
    • The Predator itself, who though still mostly an honor-bound warrior as is typical for the series, shows itself in this film to be not above underhanded tactics. It uses its own gear in unconventional ways (such as using its shield as a bladed tool), targets predators in the middle of their own hunts to catch them off-guard, and makes full use of its arsenal while fighting the French trackers. It's also not above using its camouflage for a tactical advantage in single combat, either.
  • Cool Versus Awesome: Native American warriors vs. an advanced alien warrior. Also in one scene, a grizzly bear vs. an alien warrior.
  • Cover Drop: One of the posters is Naru with fluorescent green Predator blood as warpaint. Take away the laser sight in her eye, and this does happen in the final scene when she returns to her tribe.
  • Creative Closing Credits: The first part of the credits retells most of the movie in the style of Native American paintings. It continues after the final scene, showing more Predator ships arriving.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Befitting the R rating, the film doesn't shy away from showing the brutal ways the Predator employs its exotic arsenal.
    • One of the Comanche hunters is killed by the Predator by getting pretty much torn to shreds and turned into a cloud of gore.
    • The film takes the razor net first revealed in Predator 2 and takes it up to eleven. Rather than crushing and cutting the poor unfortunate within to death, the net thrown by the Predator goes all-out and squeezes back to nothing, turning a poor French tracker and the tree he was stuck to into gibs of wood and flesh.
    • One French hunter is killed after the Predator throws a bear trap at his head.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: The Feral Predator vs. the French trackers. It isn't so much of a fight as it is an excuse to see the Predator go nuts on the hunters.
  • Curb Stomp Cushion: The Feral Predator's fights always show that for all the tech and superhuman strength it has, it can still be hurt and bested — however briefly — by its opponents. To note:
    • Its fight with the bear is the most telling, as the bear actually gets it on the ground for a bit. Seeing that it can be hurt is what gives Taabe the confidence to say that it can die.
    • During its fight with the trackers, it is briefly slowed down after getting caught in a bear trap, netted, and surrounded. Emphasis on "briefly", as it survives their initial volley of rifle fire, escapes the net, and resumes its curb-stomping in short order.
    • The fight with the Comanche shows that they're no slouches. Wasape doesn't get to fight since he's caught off guard. However, the other two get a few hits in. Huupi manages to hit the Feral Predator while he's cloaked, and afterwards, he and Ania put up a decent fight against him, nailing a few good hits, and successfully evading attacks before they're killed.
  • Damsel out of Distress: Naru rescues herself from many sticky situations, including escaping the Predator multiple times and ultimately killing it.
  • Darker and Edgier: Tone-wise, the film is far more suspenseful and dramatic compared to the action-oriented/comedy of The Predator. In fact, the first half hour or so focuses most on Naru in what is mostly a coming-of-age period drama, with brief glimpses of the Predator's hunt before the two even meet.
  • David vs. Goliath: The core conflict of the film, with Naru as David and the Predator as Goliath. Naru uses stealth, guile, and observational skills to even the odds against her stronger, more advanced and brutal opponent.
  • Death by Racism: The French fur traders, who deliberately leave dozens of Bison to rot after taking only their fur and tongues to simultaneously starve and insult the Commanche who hold said animals sacred, all suffer terrible deaths at the hands of the Predator. They use Naru and Taabe as bait while waiting for the Predator with weapons, not realizing this makes Naru and Taabe safer than them.
  • Decapitation Presentation:
    • After Taabe kills the mountain lion that wounded another hunter, he returns to the village with its head in hand as proof of the kill.
    • Naru returns triumphant to the village at the end of the film in a similar fashion, the Predator's head in her hand.
  • Defiant to the End: Taabe goes down stabbing the Predator in the leg, though he still gets bashed in the head with the Predator's spear.
  • The Determinator: A theme of the film, though not by the more typical Heroic Second Wind, instead achieved primarily through Awesome by Analysis.
    "Why do you want to hunt?"
    "Because you all think that I can't."
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: The arrival of the Predator is clearly meant to parallel the encroachment of Europeans in the Americas. Both are invasions by an alien culture possessing advanced technology destroying the local fauna and people for reasons the Comanche would also find alien (the French hunt to fuel the fur industry, the Predator for honor/fun).
  • Dual Wielding: The Predator wields a spear that splits into two short spears, one sword-like and one mace-like.
  • Egomaniac Hunter: It's a Predator movie, so yeah. This applies to the proud Comanche hunters, the arrogant French trappers, and to the Predator, who hunts to gain status and glory in his culture.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Taabe and Naru are preparing to shoot down a hawk. After some lighthearted ribbing from Naru, Taabe expertly shoots it down from a fair distance. Naru then points out she was waiting for it to circle back so she wouldn't have to cross the river to pick up the body. This establishes that while Taabe is the more skilled warrior, Naru plans ahead and observes the behavior of her prey to anticipate its next actions.
  • Evil Is Bigger: The Predator (played by the 6'9" former basketball player Dane DiLiegro) towers over most of the rest of the main cast.
  • Fair-Play Villain:
    • Initially played straight, but soon subverted. The Feral Predator starts off using mostly its wristblades and guided arrows until the French trappers start using muskets, leading to it deploying more lethal tech such as the net gun, collapsible shield, and short-range laser-armed drones. It never loses this equipment afterward, however, using it to fight against Naru who is at most, armed with an axe, though only after she shot it in the head and stole its mask. For perspective, other Yautja (Predators) will usually even the odds and remove most of their gear when going mano-a-mano with a human opponent.
    • The biggest point of subversion is with its fight against Taabe. Despite Taabe having the potential to be worthy game for any other Predator for being able to keep up with and even do some noteworthy damage to it, the Predator chooses a rather uncharacteristic Dirty Coward move by cloaking in the middle of their fight and stabbing him In the Back while distracted, implying that it's only willing to play fair to a point before going full Combat Pragmatist.
  • Final-Exam Boss: Naru's final confrontation with the Predator plays out this way, with her putting in play everything she has learned throughout the movie by watching the Predator hunt.
    • The Predator only hunts worthy prey. Naru baits it out not with a hapless victim, but a French tracker holding a (empty) gun.
    • The Predator sees using body heat. Naru eats a herb to lower her body temperature.
    • The Predator leaps from tree to tree to chase prey. Naru places stakes on certain trees so the Predator impales itself when it lands on them.
    • The Predator's shield is razor-sharp. Naru traps it in a position where it can either take a spear hit or deploy its shield and cut off its own arm. It chooses the latter.
    • The Predator's metal bolts track its helmet's laser dots. Naru traps it in a bog she discovered earlier, then baits it into using its bolt launcher, causing the bolt to fly along the helmet's laser she planted earlier to strike it in the head.
  • Foil:
    • Naru is a young Comanche woman intent to prove herself as a huntress, and the Feral Predator is implied (and confirmed by the director) to be an Unblooded participating in its first hunt on Earth. Naru has some early missteps in the first act (in fact she nearly dies three times, which makes the male warriors' protesting her participation something of a case of Strawman Has a Point) but demonstrates throughout the film that she is actually rather clever and resourceful, using Awesomeness by Analysis to create new weapons and tactics on the fly based on what she learns over the story. The Feral Predator, on the other hand, just relies on its alien physiology and advanced technology to defeat its enemies, and grows more reckless and arrogant with each kill; it eschews stealth and ranged weaponry in favour of direct confrontation in melee, makes clear tactical blunders which allow its enemies to score multiple wounds against it, and seemingly does not understand how the laser targeting system of its speargun works. One prospective hunter grows and develops, the other doesn't.
    • The French trappers serve as this for the Predators in general, at least from the Comanche perspective: "alien" invaders with (comparatively) advanced technology, exploiting the native population's land to slaughter its fauna. That their dialogue is completely untranslated is potentially meant to further the comparison, as to the Comanche (and any viewer who doesn't speak French) it's nearly as incomprehensible as the Predators' clicking and snarling. As represented by Raphael, however, communication and the potential for sympathetic interaction is still completely possible as fellow human beings, as opposed to the true aliens who are completely removed from humanity.
  • Foregone Conclusion: The Predators will return, and one way or another will gain possession of Raphael Adolini's pistol as a trophy.
  • Foreshadowing: During her encounter with the mountain lion, Naru observes a far-off explosion in the distance. Given that the French trappers are already aware of the alien by the time she encounters them, that was likely their own run-in with the Yautja.
  • Genre Shift: For the first time since Predator and Predator 2. The first half of the movie is mostly a coming-of-age drama focusing on Naru as she struggles to be taken seriously as a warrior, before the film kicks into action/horror mode.
  • The Good, the Bad, and the Evil: Naru is a heroic Comanche woman intent on earning respect in her tribe as a hunter. The Feral Predator is a vicious alien Egomaniac Hunter. The French trappers are, with the exception of Raphael, pure greedy assholes.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: The camera cuts away from Taabe's death, focusing more on Naru's heartbroken reaction. The only indicator of death is a blood splatter.
    • The film also doesn't entirely show on-screen the decapitation of the one Comanche hunter who tried to duel the Predator, presenting it as borderline a Sound-Only Death from Naru's perspective.
    • A man is caught between a log and the Razor Floss net; the camera pans away and focuses on the net's base instead, which pulls the wires tighter until only a pile of woodchips and Ludicrous Gibs remains.
    • A very interesting one in the Feral Predator's first kill. Most of the Predator stabbing and skinning the rattlesnake is shown through the Predator's invisibility cloak, distorting the image to the point where, while it's clear what's going on, it's difficult to see the details.
  • Guile Hero: Fitting for the film's theming, Naru overcomes the obstacles before her by analyzing her enemies, retreating when necessary, and generally finding creative and intelligent ways to stay alive in lethal situations.
  • Guys Smash, Girls Shoot: Slightly inverted. Taabe is shown to be more proficient in archery while Naru is skilled with trapping and tracking, her main weapon being her tomahawk.
  • Halfway Plot Switch: Similar to the original, the first act of the film is a period drama coming-of-age story about a young woman wanting to defy her society's expectations and become a hunter instead of sticking with traditionally feminine jobs. Then Naru gets a good look at what she's actually been hunting, and the sci-fi-action-horror kicks into full gear.
  • Helmet-Mounted Sight: How the Predator aims its arrows. Naru quickly figures this out and steals the helmet so that she can use the helmet-mounted sight to trick the Predator into killing itself with one of its own arrows.
  • High-Tech Hexagons: The Predator's cloak consists of a series of interlocking hexagons.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard:
    • A French tracker tries hitting the Predator with an axe, only for the Predator to catch the axe in its wristblades, wrench it into the air, and bring it down onto his head.
    • One of the French trappers tries to shoot the Predator in the head... only for the bullet to bounce off its helmet and blow his brains out.
    • When the Predator uses its retractable shield to deflect Naru's tomahawk, it accidentally severs its own arm, which got in the way of the razor-sharp edge.
    • Naru finally kills the Predator for good by using its helmet's targeting system to send one of its guided arrows flying into its head, splattering its green brains everywhere.
  • Homing Projectile: The guided arrows that the Predator uses always go wherever the laser dots are aimed at, no matter what they have to travel through to get there. Naru takes advantage of this by stealing the helmet and luring the Predator into a position where it will shoot itself in the head.
  • Hope Spot: For a moment, it looks like Raphael might actually survive his encounter with the Predator by playing dead, thanks to Naru's medicine, despite his blood still leading the creature to him. Then the Predator ends up stepping on Raphael's seemingly-dead body as he tries to move away, causing him to howl in pain and ensure a painful death.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: While the Predator is the gravest threat to Naru in the film, the most loathsome foe she faces is Big Beard, a racist French trapper who wantonly kills an entire herd of sacred buffalo for their pelts, and tortures her brother while forcing her to watch.
  • Hunting the Most Dangerous Game: Turns this particular plot up to eleven when the protagonist specifically wishes early in the film to hunt something which is actively hunting her (to prove her mettle and honor to herself and her tribe).
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Taabe shoots a bird high in the sky in one shot just seconds after being distracted by Naru's joke snoring. She then points out that now he'll have to hike over and get it, instead of waiting for the easy shot.
  • Incorrect Animal Noise: The mountain lion that Naru helps hunt early into the movie snarls and roars like an actual lion, rather than using a cougar's actual shrieks.
  • I Shall Taunt You: Naru taunts the Predator while it's stuck in the bog, forcing it to use its arrows, which she has specifically anticipated and set a trap for. She also taunts the French captain when she's using him for bait to lure the Predator to her.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: The Comanche hunter/warriors who were sent to bring Naru back to the village resort to getting rough with her and binding her like a prisoner, but they were clearly acting on behalf of Taabe's concern for her well-being and she was giving as good as she got before they tricked her into thinking they were letting her go before sucker punching her.
  • Jump Scare: Very few, with the most blatant one being when Paaka is jumped and dragged out of the tree by the lion.
  • Just Hit Him: The Predator is strong enough to break a grizzly bear's neck with a single punch, but spends most of its final fight with Naru doing everything it can to avoid killing her in a similar fashion.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Twice for the French tying up Naru and Taabe to use them as bait, and lampshaded both times.
    • First, because it's what makes Naru realize that the Predator only hunts what it considers to be meaningful prey and a dangerous opponent. Being tied up, she and her brother appear harmless, and as such below the Yautja's attention, which is then proven true as it starts attacking the French and leaving the siblings alone.
    • Second, when, later in the movie, Naru finds the French leader and knocks him out to use him as bait. However, having learned her lesson, she actually conceals herself and leaves a rifle (which is empty) to the man so that he will appear dangerous. This time, the bait ends up actually working.
  • Life-or-Limb Decision: Defied. When Naru and Taabe are captured by the French trappers to be used as bait for the Predator, Naru recalls a story of a beaver that got trapped in a flood and was forced to tear out its own limb to survive, before slowly moving her and Taabe's tied-up arms toward the nearby bear-trap. Taabe, thinking that Naru is about to invoke this trope, starts to panic, but Naru manages to find a way to free them both using the bear trap without losing their arms in the process. She then explains that she's smarter than a beaver.
  • Lightning Bruiser: The Predator is strong enough to lift a grizzly bear over its head, runs as fast as a horse, and can leap dozens of feet through the air.
  • Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: One of the Predator's toys is a retractable shield with sharp edges that effortlessly blocks bullets and slices through tree trunks, and even solid stone.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: Both a Comanche hunter and a French trapper are turned into a pile of gore by the Predator, with the former getting literally torn to shreds and a cloud of blood while the latter is turned into giblets by the netgun.
  • Lured into a Trap: Pulled off plenty of times throughout.
    • When hunting the lion, Naru suggests finding some bait and luring it to them, rather than actively hunting it in its territory. This tactic gets Paaka eaten because he's not paying attention, but it does work otherwise.
    • The French trappers use Naru and Taabe as bait to lure out the Predator, but it doesn't work because they aren't hunting an animal. It starts killing them first, and only walks into the actual trap because they herd it into position at great cost. Even then, it's too strong to be contained by a few bear traps.
    • Naru learns from the attempt and captures the French captain as bait to lure out the Predator, cutting off his leg to limit his mobility while leaving a sabotaged gun for him so he'll look like a threat. When the Predator kills him, Naru uses her pistol to shoot its mask off.
    • Finally, Naru lures the Predator into a massive string of traps that result in its death by its own guided arrows.
  • Meaningful Echo: Naru repeats some of Taabe's final words — which he'd previously told her to say when she completed her kühtaamia and said before his own death — when she finally has the Predator cornered and ensnared in a trap that results in its own arrow projectile getting launched into its head.
    "This is as far as you go. No more. This is it."
  • Meaningful Name: Naru means "fight" in Comanche.
  • Mistaken for Aliens: Inverted several times throughout the movie.
    • At the beginning of the film, Naru mistakes the Predator's ship for the Thunderbird and takes it as a sign that she's ready for her kühtaamia.
    • Having no concept of aliens, Naru assumes that the Predator is a "mupitsl" — a humanoid monster from Comanche folklore. The other hunters laugh at her... until the Predator attacks them.
    • The leader of the French trappers believes the Predator is a (Christian) demon.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • At one point, Taabe proclaims that "if [the Predator] bleeds, we can kill it", in a pretty obvious nod to Dutch's line from the original.
    • After trapping the Predator in quicksand, Naru attempts to bait it into shooting her with its arrow-launcher in the same way Dutch tried to taunt the Jungle Hunter into triggering the trap he'd set up. Unlike the Jungle Hunter, the Feral Predator falls for it and ends up killing itself.
    • At one point, Naru breaks off one of the Predator's tusks, a possible reference to the original AvP comic and novel.
  • Nightmare Face: This Predator is probably the ugliest motherfucker of them all, having a much thinner, flatter face than past Predators.
  • Not His Sled:
    • Raphael Adolini is not a Worthy Opponent to the Predator, and not even a noteworthy kill from its perspective, with his flintlock being taken by a different Predator later on in the timeline instead — completely unaware of its significance to the pistol's namesake.
    • You'd think when Naru is caked deep in mud after escaping the bog that it would play a pivotal role in circumventing the Predator's vision like the other films all did, but the mud camouflage never plays a role in the entire movie, as the herb that lowers body heat fulfills that role in its place, and the bog itself is more pivotal, as it's the main component for ensuring Naru's able to pull off her Batman Gambit by submerging the Predator deep enough in it to prevent it from moving to ensure its projectile doesn't miss its own head.
  • Off with His Head!:
    • An unseen example. A group of French trappers on horseback are all swiftly killed via decapitation by the Predator while their allies surveying the forest are none the wiser. The act isn't focused on, but their corpses after the fact clearly show a lack of heads.
    • Another French trapper gets pinned to a tree by the Predator. When he pulls a knife, it deploys its wrist shield into his neck, cutting off his head and slicing the tree in half.
    • One of the Comanche hunters is killed while on his knees, with the Predator cutting off his head.
    • The Predator itself is killed, and Naru decapitates it afterward.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • A rattlesnake chomps down on a mouse that was eating an ant that had been crawling on the Predator's foot, only to sense the Predator with its own heat-vision, drop the mouse, and rear up in a striking position while rattling. When the Predator doesn't retreat, the rattlesnake strikes... only to promptly be impaled through the head by its wrist-blades.
    • Naru has a nonverbal version of this as she witnesses the Predator raising the bear carcass above its head with ease, drenching itself with blood to reveal its form beneath the Invisibility Cloak.
    • One of the French trappers simply says "merde", French for shit, when he sees the Predator is about to attack him after quietly killing everyone else that was with him.
    • The Predator itself also has a moment like this when it realizes Naru has played it, lining up its own mask to trace its homing arrows back into its own head.
  • One-Word Title: Prey.
  • Only a Flesh Wound: Naru gets her leg caught in a trap, but is able to move and run with no limp or any other impediments. She eventually treats it, but only after a fair bit of action.
  • Planet of Hats:
    • Played with. As the director explained in an interview, their take on the new Predator in this film is that they are not a homogeneous single breed or culture across their homeworld. So there are some differences from the "Classic" Predators we've seen before, but still broad similarities (a culture of hunting sapient prey, heat vision, etc.) This is seen in the film itself, where the Predator's mask is knocked off and it roars at Taabe. Compared to previous Yautja (the Predator species), this hunter has a more flattened face and reddish skin. Its mouth is also significantly larger, to the point where its mask doesn't cover its lower jaw.
      "I think this guy’s perhaps from a different hemisphere of the planet and a little bit of a different breed. So even his look is a little new, it’s familiar, but new."
    • Also played with by the setting directly, as the vast majority of the characters are hunters, with the difference being that the Comanche hunt to survive, the French trappers hunt for money, and the Yautja hunt for glory.
  • Predators Are Mean: Ignoring the pun involving the titular alien, every predator animal depicted in the film is shown to be highly aggressive, always choosing to attack. The rattlesnake can be excused due to being startled and simply lashing out, but the wolf, mountain lion, and bear all show significantly elevated levels of aggression in situations where realistically they would have been more likely to retreat.
  • Quicksand Sucks: Naru gets trapped in a bog and needs to climb out using her leashed tomahawk as a grappling hook. She later weaponizes the bog against the Predator.
  • Quizzical Tilt: Twice by the Predator. The first is after decapitating a French trapper (and a tree) with its shield. The second time is when it realizes that its mask's laser sight is pointing right at its forehead.
  • Reality Has No Subtitles: The French trappers' dialogue isn't subtitled, leaving most of what they say a mystery to those who don't understand French. Some unsubtitled Comanche is also spoken (in the English-language version, that is).
  • Retractable Weapon: The Predator is seen with a device that extends into a shield, and is also capable of cutting through flesh. It's also seen with the franchise staple, the wrist-blades. Plenty of other weapons that retract are shown, like a blade that opens up like a whip, the razor net from previous films, and a combistick spear that can be retracted for transport or split into two for Dual Wielding.
  • Revisiting the Roots: The director explained that a major premise behind the film was to get back to the roots of the franchise with the first film: a tense horror movie in which humans with comparatively primitive weapons are being hunted by an alien with advanced technology, but the humans are skilled trackers, and fight back with ingenuity and resourcefulness to outwit the superior foe. Recall that in the original Predator, in the final fight Arnold defeated the Predator mostly by setting traps made of logs and vines, and in the end mortally wounded it with just a deadfall log trap instead of modern weapons.
    "The ingenuity of a human being who won't give up, who's able to observe and interpret, basically being able to beat a stronger, more powerful, well-armed force."
  • Rite of Passage: Naru is eager to have her "kühtaamia", a rite of passage involving hunting something which is hunting you, that will have her recognized as a full-fledged hunter. She finally does this when she brings back the Predator's head.
  • Schmuck Bait:
    • The Predator leaves its wrist gauntlet behind - complete with tiny hunter-seeker drones that have just been armed. Several of the French trappers gather around to watch the devices hum and levitate before they fly after their targets with lethal intent.
    • After catching the French captain and amputating his leg, Naru leaves a rifle in plain sight and doesn't pay attention as he crawls over and starts to load it. As she lampshades aloud, he thinks she's a mere savage and assumes he can just kill her. Little does he realize she's sabotaged the rifle, and now he's holding a weapon and registers as a threat to the Predator.
  • Schrödinger's Canon: The film renders false a previous piece of Expanded Universe material related to Predator 2. It's the flintlock pistol that Mike Harrigan received, with engraving that reads "Raphael Adolini 1715". In the comic Predator: 1718, this was owned by pirate captain Raphael Adolini, who forged a temporary alliance with a Predator and gave it to him before his death. In Prey, Raphael is an ordinary French tracker and a translator who gives the pistol to Naru in exchange for medical treatment, rendering the events of the comic non-canon.
  • Series Continuity Error: While the Feral Predator is definitely a different breed, which explains some differences, the film takes liberties with, forgets, or ignores some well-established elements.
    • The Predator's cloaking system does not short out in water, as it did in the previous films. The film is set some 300 years earlier, but if Predator technology changed over that relatively short span of time (for a space-faring species), it should improve, not decline (though it may have developed the weakness after accounting for other ones).
    • No mention is made of the temperature, and it seems an average spring/summer, whereas the first two films established the Predators prefer to hunt when it is uncomfortably warm for humans. Some EU materials credit Predator armor with advanced climate control, meaning they could theoretically hunt anywhere under any temperature conditions, but this is not confirmed in the films. And if the Feral Predator is indeed from a harsher and more arid region of their homeworld, logic would suggest it would prefer temperatures even hotter than the previously-seen Predators. Though many deserts on Earth can get quite cold, so it may be more used to extremes of both hot and cold weather than previous Predators.
    • The Feral Predator wears a mask that does not cover its mouth or obviously attach to its armor. In the first and second film, at least two hoses that released gas when disconnected linked the armor and mask, and in the second film the City Hunter visibly struggled to breathe in Earth's atmosphere after Harrigan removed its mask (and Harrigan seemed to find the air on the Predator ship disagreeable), and several times used what appeared to be a small breathing mask, indicating Predators and humans require slightly different atmospheric mixes. It is unlikely simply coming from a different region of the same planet would alter what the Feral Predator breathes.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Naru uses her tomahawk, with a line tied to it, like Scorpion doing his trademark move when she takes on several trappers. Also, her face paint resembles Nightwolf's.
    • Dan Trachtenberg has admitted that Naru's tomahawk and the Predator's retractable shield were inspired by Kratos' Leviathan Axe and Guardian Shield in God of War (PS4).
  • Shown Their Work:
    • The script was rewritten by two Comanche activists to ensure its depiction of Comanche culture wasn't inaccurate or stereotypical, and the movie was praised for the results of their efforts. Among their changes, they insisted on giving every character (Comanche and French) a name in their language, even if it wasn't stated onscreen.
    • There are indeed some herbs in real life that can lower blood pressure enough to reduce considerable body heat (albeit not to the degree shown or as quickly). In fact, the herb in question shares characteristics to Calendula officinalis, or pot marigold, which is used all over the world throughout history to lower blood pressure explicitly to prevent further blood loss in a victim, something shown both with the tribesman injured by the lion and Raphael Adolini's leg after Naru treats them with the orange plant to keep them stable.
    • 1719 was the first year when French trapping expeditions entered Comanche territory (in Oklahoma).
  • Single-Stroke Battle: The Predator and the coyote. They each get introductory blows in beforehand, with the Predator kicking a coyote away from the rabbit it's chasing and the coyote charging and biting the Predator's thigh. Afterwards, though, the hunt concludes with a duel out of a samurai movie that ends with a gutted coyote and the Predator taking its head by the vertebrae, like others did with human victims in previous films.
  • Stay in the Kitchen: Downplayed. Naru's mother tells her father he gave her his weapon so she could cut vegetables and doesn't see why Naru wants so badly to prove herself as a hunter, citing Naru's talents as an herbalist and potential medicine woman. The young Comanche hunters aren't too thrilled with Naru not gathering roots and herbs or preparing meals with the other women in their tribe as she was in the start of the film and regularly insult her, demean her, and question her worth. They also rough up, sucker punch her in the head from behind, and tie Naru's hands together when she tries to warn them of the monster which killed the bear and is spooking the animals. However, though their actions fit the trope very well otherwise, none of the hunters ever explicitly demean her for her gender, but rather because she is an inexperienced hunter. It helps Naru's case that Taabe is their leader and actively praises her talents in tracking, observation, and healing, which is implied to be whyy they even tolerate her tagging along.
  • Stupid Crooks: The trappers are thoroughly evil and comically stupid, providing easy chaff for the Predator to cut through during the middle act.
  • The Stinger: At the end of the cave-drawing-style credits, we see a continuation of the end of the film, with numerous Predator ships descending onto Naru's village.
  • Summon Bigger Fish: The French trappers inadvertently pull this on themselves when they use Naru and Taabe as bait to lure the Predator into a trap. It backfires horribly when the Predator easily thwarts their capture attempt, and massacres the entire trapping party almost to a man, but leaves the "bait" alone because they were unarmed and thus uninteresting game.
  • Summon to Hand: The primary reason Naru fashions a tether for her axe, so she can pull it back after throwing it. The tether proves useful multiple times throughout the film, despite being ridiculed early on by some of the Comanche hunters, and she uses it both to pull herself out of a bog and strangle the Predator by wrapping it around his neck to pull him down.
  • Super-Toughness:
    • As usual, the Predator. This one in particular is bitten by a coyote, mauled by a bear, stabbed and slashed and hit with arrows by the Comanches, shot several times by the French trappers, and during its showdown with Naru, she shoots it in the head with a flintlock pistol, stabs it several more times, tricks it into jumping into a bunch of sharpened stakes and cutting off its own arm, and finally puts it down with one of its own guided arrows.
  • Tap on the Head: Naru falls from a tree during the encounter with the mountain lion, and is knocked out when her head lands on a rock, something far more dangerous than the film portrays. She also gets knocked senseless by a musket butt before waking up with only a mild headache.
  • The End... Or Is It?: While the film ends pretty conclusively, the Creative Closing Credits show more Predator ships arriving before the Comanche camp, indicating that Naru's battle has only just begun.
  • This Means Warpaint: Naru methodically applies campfire ash as warpaint for the final battle, her previous paint having washed off in the river during her first encounter with the Predator.
  • 'Tis Only a Bullet in the Brain: Naru shoots the Predator in the back of the head with her pistol at point blank range, which knocks its mask off as the bullet emerges out the other side of its skull, yet it’s more angry than anything else despite sustaining such an injury. Getting it to shoot itself with its own weapon does the trick though.
  • Token Good Teammate:
    • Raphael is the only one of the French trackers to actually try and talk with Naru about how they can all kill the Predator together, even handing over his gun to get her to nurse his wounds. It helps that he's the only character in the film capable of speaking both French and Comanche (rendered as English).
    • Taabe has shades of this with the Comanche hunters who, while not villainous, are actively disdainful of having Naru around, constantly boast and make fun of her, and even beat her and tie her up to attempt to take her back home. While Taabe is around, he protects and justifies Naru's presence, and while he initially takes credit for killing the lion, he admits he couldn't have done it without her plan, which is why he recognizes her skill as a hunter.
  • Trail of Blood: Various times throughout the film, the Predator tracks its prey by using a blood trail. Naru does the same when she and the warriors are looking for their compatriot who was dragged off by a mountain lion.
  • Translation Convention: Any and all English spoken in the movie is actually Comanche, as demonstrated by Raphael stating that he speaks multiple languages and recognizing that Naru is of Comanche descent. That being said, a substantial amount of untranslated Comanche still features in the film. Almost fully averted by the Comanche dub of the film, barring the few English lines used by the trappers.
  • Uncertain Doom: Hell, Naru, Sarii, Aruka, and the entire Comanche village can be considered this given The Stinger where three Predator ships decloak and descend from the clouds with intentions unknown. Given the fact the flintlock pistol Naru obtained ends up in the hands of the Elder Greyback, things don't look good.
  • Underestimating Badassery: Naru spells this out in her speech to the French captain, explaining that the fact that no one, not her fellow Comanches, not the French trappers, and not the Predator, sees her as a valid threat is the very thing that makes her so dangerous to all of them.
  • Villainous Rescue: The Predator unintentionally saves Naru from the bear when she's cornered, grappling with it, punching it out, and gutting it so it can bathe in its blood.
  • Villain Respect: Implied. The Predator never resorts to any cheap tactics with Naru during their brawl, drawing the conflict out to have a worthy hunt. Subverted with Taabe, however, as even though he would get this from any other Yautja, the Feral Predator cloaks and sneaks up on him in a rather cowardly move.
  • Villainous Valour:
    • The Predator itself, particularly during its animal hunts where it hunts a rattlesnake, coyote, and grizzly bear all on equal terms. It passes up a chance to kill Naru when she's gotten her leg caught in a bear trap, and later ignores Naru and Taabe when the French trappers try to use them as bait, since they're unarmed and tied to a tree.
    • Despite being presented as evil and more contemptible than the Predator, the French fur trappers, aside from their leader, show a lot of bravery and determination in the face of the alien threat, even as they are all mostly wiped out by the Predator's advanced weaponry. They would rather hunt the Predator than flee the land entirely. Notably, there's the trapper in the white shirt who tries to challenge the Predator with just a knife.
  • Wakeup Makeup: At the beginning of the movie, Naru wakes up with a full face of perfectly applied warpaint.
  • Weak, but Skilled:
    • The Comanche hunters compared to the alien Predator. Those who last more than a few seconds rely on nimbleness and superior tactics to survive against the comparatively stronger, faster, and better-armed Predator.
    • Naru compared to everyone else. She's smaller and lighter and can't generate the force or leverage human males can (never mind overpowering the Predator), but when she can bring her favored weapon, agility, speed, and most importantly wits to bear, she tends to dominate her opposition.
  • Weird West: The story is about Comanche warriors and French fur trappers battling an alien.
  • Wham Shot: The Creative Closing Credits seem to just be recapping the movie until it reaches the Title Card, with the paintings depicting the Comanche panicking while Naru and Sarii stare up at a trio of Predator ships descending from thunderclouds.
  • You Go, Girl!: Naru is treated contemptuously by the male Comanche hunters/warriors (aside from her brother, who's indulgent of her to a point), putting her down as a potential hunter and warrior. Though this was not completely unjustified, as Naru constantly failed her hunts before encountering the Predator. Over the film, however, she proves herself equally adept using weapons, a superior tracker, and overall a much smarter combatant, as Naru studies everything the Predator does carefully, unlike the rest, who are more prone to foolish frontal assaults which get them killed. This allows her to kill it when everyone else fails.
  • You Have GOT to Be Kidding Me!: The Predator has one of the trappers pinned against a tree. He fumbles in his pocket and pulls out a small skinning knife. The Predator just looks at the knife, then gives the trapper this look, before deploying its shield and decapitating him.


Video Example(s):


Predator vs Grizzly Bear

After being cornered by an angry Grizzly Bear, Naru is saved by a ''much'' bigger danger.

How well does it match the trope?

4.95 (21 votes)

Example of:

Main / VillainousRescue

Media sources: