Hulu’s Prey takes what made Predator successful and puts a new spin on the formula, including a clever update on one of Dutch’s (Arnold Schwarzenegger) tricks from the original movie. Prey strips the series back down to its basics, pitting underdog survivors against the ultimate hunter. The Predator movies have strayed from what made the original movie special, instead trying to one-up each other by bringing in different Predator species, introducing the Alien Xenomorphs as rivals, and focusing on creating a cinematic universe rather than a cohesive singular film.
Prey distances itself from the convoluted timeline of the Predator franchise by setting it 300 years in the past in the Northern Great Plains, with the main characters being First Nation Comanche members played by Native American actors. Another major change of pace in Prey compared to the other Predator movies is that Prey‘s protagonist Naru (Amber Midthunder) is female. Even with these changes, major aspects of the Predator franchise are still intact, and many plot developments and Easter eggs connect this prequel canonically to the other movies.
One of Dutch’s best tricks in the original Predator was covering himself in mud to lower his body temperature and avoid detection from the Predator, and there is a similar scene in Prey that uses the image of a mud-covered protagonist in a new way. Early on her journey, Naru falls into a bog and is almost swallowed whole by mud, but she uses her new “leashed” hatchet invention to rescue herself. Naru emerges from the bog covered in mud, and instead of being predictable by having the Predator show up and teach Naru about Dutch’s famous mud trick, she instead uses the bog later to trap and defeat the Predator. She does discover lowering her body temperature makes her invisible to the Predator, but it’s because she uses the orange tutsia flower established earlier in the movie.
Prey’s Best Easter Eggs All Service Naru’s Story
The clever allusion to Dutch’s mud trick from the original Predator is not the only reference to the Predator franchise that Prey uses to enhance its plot. The famous line “If it bleeds, we can kill it” is said by Naru’s brother Taabe (Dakota Beavers), and it isn’t used as a throwaway reference to Dutch’s line from the original. Naru spends the entire film trying to prove herself as a hunter, and Taabe is shown to be supportive but skeptical of her abilities, so reciting this line to her helps her evolve as a hunter. She gains the confidence to outwit the Predator at the end of the film because she knows it can be hunted and killed. The reference to Predator 2 at the end of the movie also furthers Naru’s story. The flintlock pistol she gets from the French fur trappers is the same pistol that was given to Lieutenant Mike Harrigan (Danny Glover) in Predator 2, which, along with the cave painting teaser during the end credits, suggests that this is not the last time Naru will have to face a Predator.
Prey takes elements from the Predator movies which came before it, but it never feels like a retread. Instead, it uses the knowledge of the previous movies to further the story of Naru becoming the hunter she always wanted to be. While it connects to the other movies in the franchise with direct references, Prey is a successfully unique Predator movie with a different cast and setting from the rest of the franchise, and it uses the other movies as a jumping-off point for a new take on a familiar property.