Prey by Dan Trachtenberg [6/10]

I never watched the original Predator movies but if “Prey,” a prequel set 300 years ago among a Comanche tribe, is any guide, those thriller/horror movies involved a futuristic killing machine (able, for example, to become invisible) who comes to town to battle the handiest warrior around, with lots of click-click-clicking (its signature sound when unseen) and foulsome roaring and grotequeque mayhem. I am not complaining, for I knew the terrain when I began watching, and I knew that the two narrative levers of the film would be horrid dread and the intellectual puzzle of how the hero would outwit such a capable enemy, and, truth be told, much of Prey is commendable. Amber Midthunder does a credible job as Naru, the female warrior unjustly dismissed by her tribe and indeed the Predator. The cinematography is splendid and atmospheric, conveying an olden-days world. The CGI is splendid and the action scenes rock. What prevented me from moving from mindless enjoyment to genuine respect was an unexpected lack of gasping terror, something I can easily fall into. Quite why the encroaching tension and the ravening monster left me nonplussed is not clear to me, but you may well differ, you may well find Prey a shining example of this genre.

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