‘Prey’ hits big with critics and audiences alike, proves woke ain’t broke

Prey, the latest instalment in the long-running Predator franchise, is officially Hulu’s biggest streaming hit. Suggesting that representation and solid writing are still a winning combination.

Prey created waves online earlier this year when it was announced the sci-fi action film would star a Comanche woman in its lead role. A vocal segment of the Predator fanbase were initially unimpressed, feeling their beloved macho film series was being co-opted by the woke Hollywood machine.

And sure, at a glance Prey did appear to be steering the Predator franchise into risky new terrain; the original film was an Arnold Schwarzenegger vehicle that had guns, gore and enough testosterone to thin even the glorious mane of Stranger Thing‘s Joe Keery.

prey actress
Image: Prey / Hulu

Nonetheless, the results are in and, as it turns out, audiences and critics agree that Prey has brought some much-needed freshness to the series. Currently, the new film has the highest aggregate score of the series on Rotten Tomatoes (92% of critics and 80% of the audience have given it a positive review).

On top of this, Prey is reportedly Hulu’s biggest streaming premier to date; demonstrating that its score isn’t the result of a small sample size, but a genuinely positive response.

It should be noted that the concept of a female led sci-fi/action film isn’t exactly ground-breaking. Alien‘s iconic Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) is proof enough that women and action make solid bedfellows when done well. Which, truth be told, is probably the most relevant factor here.

If a film or television series is produced with genuine passion, skill and creativity, it is unlikely to be trashed on release (for ‘wokeness’ or whatever else). However, as soon as fans and audiences smell cynicism your piece of entertainment faces an upwards battle.

Prey is proof that what may appear to be cynical representation, or the subversion of audience’s expectations, is just as likely to be creativity unbridled from the sexist, white-centric tropes of Hollywood. Which is why audiences should wait and see before getting out their soapbox and heading to the townhall square of the internet.

Prey is available to stream on Hulu (US) and Disney+ (Australia).