SPOILER WARNING: THIS ARTICLE IS FILLED WITH PLOT DETAILS FROM THE FILM, PREY.
Throughout the film, Prey, hidden between all the creative R-rated bloody gore, is the consistent contrast and comparison between our hero, Naru, and villain, The Predator. They are similar creatures, yet also very different from each other – This makes them natural enemies in the wild and you can no longer tell, which one is the predator, and which one is the prey.
Critics and audience alike are loving Prey, and most of that accolade seems to be coming from actress Amber Midthunder and her character Naru. Through the course of the Prey, we have seen our Little Naru grow up from the scrappy underdog of underdogs to the Comanche Brave hunter she always dreamt of becoming. Yet a great hero is nothing without an equally amazing villain. Here enters The Predator – The iconic horror monster that first appeared in the brilliant 1989 film, Predator.
How Naru and the Predator are “=” in Prey
The comparison between Naru and The Predator begins with them being both hunters. Not by profession nor by obligation, but by passion and by heart. The purpose of hunting is survival, but both Naru and The Predator do it for honor – The sense of victory attached to killing something that is about to kill you. It is important to note that both the Comanche tribe and The Predator cut off the heads of their successful kill like a trophy, as a badge of honor for killing something strong.
The stark difference is that Naru is not even considered a hunter by her Comanche Tribe due to being perceived as a “weak woman”, while the Predator is the strongest of strong from an advanced warrior race beyond anything the Comanche can even imagine. Naru aspires to be a great hunter, The Predator is the conventional ugly face of what a hunter should be. The irony is, Naru treats The Predator like the biggest threat she has ever seen in her life despite being invincible, while The Predator does not even look at her.
When Naru travels through the landscapes to look for the mysterious monster lurking in the woods, she keeps on struggling through the elements like being trapped in quicksand or failing from making even the most basic of hunting kills. In contrast, The Predator is a killing machine, slowly killing up the food chain ladder with minimal effort. The comparison also draws that both hunters are excellent trackers. As Naru tracks The Predator, The Predator tracks multiple creatures for opponents.
Naru struggles to even kill a rabbit, while The Predator does not even bother with the rabbit and goes for the wolf that is trying to kill the rabbit. When Naru fails to sneak up on a bear and ended up barely surviving the attack, The Predator sneaks up on the bear with no effort and kills it with its bare hands.
Naru may not be a genetic super specimen of muscle, but what she does have are her gumption and her observation skills. She has a gift of surveying her surroundings and doing her best with the little of what she has. A huge difference with The Predator which has proven to be over-reliant with its strong body and advanced technology. More importantly, Naru has the gift of failing – Specifically, she has the gift of making every experience and failure a learning opportunity. Which is a good thing because boy does she fail so many times in this movie.
Yet no matter how many times she fails, or no matter how many times her tribe tells her she is not good enough, she always gets back up, not discouraged and with a new perspective of how to win.
It is through Naru’s observation skills that the entire plot revolves around. She is the only one in her tribe that notices that there is something in the land more dangerous than any mountain lion or bear so she treks through the woods despite everyone’s protest. The Predator is a mystery, but every time we learn something vital about the creature, it is through Naru. When The Predator did not kill her even when it can easily do so, Naru realized it was because it only kills creatures it believes to be worthy opponents.
When The Predator cannot see the French explorer playing dead, Naru realized it was because she gave the explorer medicine that makes his body too cold for The Predator’s sensors to detect.
The most important thing Naru noticed is that The Predator does not perceive her as a threat. With multiple failures and the loss of even her brother, the lesson Naru learned is not to run, but the observation that she survived when no one else did. Being perceived as weak is not a curse, it is a gift – It is what makes Naru dangerous because no monster on earth will see her coming. When she learns this vital lesson, it is only then that she is rewarded with a strategic trap that lets her fight The Predator on equal ground.
It is in their final and only real battle that everything Naru learns about The Predator becomes the tools she needs to ultimately kill it. Right down to the last moment when Naru used The Predator’s own homing technology to trick it into killing itself. The reward for Naru’s ingenuity, bravery, and patience is The Predator’s head. It is The Predator’s downfall that it did not bother to notice one thing about Naru, when Naru noticed everything about The Predator in all of its minute detail.
In the end, Naru is not the prey, but the predator.
Prey can be streamed on Hulu.
What were your thoughts on Prey? Do you see more qualities between Naru and The Predator that parallels? Let us know in the comments and on our Twitter!