I consider myself a fan of the Predator franchise, even though the Predator and Alien smash up wasn’t exactly my cup of tea. I’m not saying the concept isn’t fantastic. No doubt sci-fi horror fans around the world were thrilled to see a Predator finally square up with a xenomorph, just as much as slasher fans were excited to finally get Freddy vs. Jason (fantastic movie, by the way). I think what killed it the most for me was that the first AVP (Aliens vs Predator) entry was PG-13 and came with a mediocre script. What’s wrong with PG-13? Well, nothing really, but considering every Predator and Alien movie that came before it, and after it, was rated R, why on earth would the movie when these super violent aliens finally cross paths be rated PG-13? Yeah, yeah, I know it’s to reach a broader audience, but still.
However, the newest entry, Prey, is quite arguably a modern-day horror masterpiece. It was a GREAT movie. I loved it. Personally, I felt that it was a perfect addition to the franchise. The fact that the film featured a strong female lead, just like in the original Alien film, really set it off.
Now I understand that opinions are like, well… abundant. Yeah, let’s just say abundant. Not exactly the “A” word I was thinking of, but it’ll do. In other words, everyone has one. An opinion. Cause you know, they’re abundant. And sometimes those opinions drive me up the wall. There, I’ll admit it freely. I hate people. It’s no big secret.
Why this segue into opinions, you might ask? Well, like much of the world, I’m in a few online social groups with like-minded folks who share hobbies, interests, what have you. One of those groups is all about movies. Horror movies to be specific. I don’t know if you’ve noticed or not, but misogyny tends to run rampant online and especially in groups about horror and sci fi. No, really, it’s true.
So, anyway, people in this group were downright losing their minds over the fact that Prey had a strong female lead. And just so we’re clear, when I say, “losing their minds,” I don’t mean in a good way. Like, oh wow, she’s a freakin’ badass! Yeah, no. It was not like that. At all.
It was mostly men (remember, I did mention the whole misogyny runs rampant thing) doing the mind losing, and the general feeling was, “Let’s talk about the brother. Now HE was awesome. HE would have made a far better hero. HE should’ve been the lead.” Yeah, great. Sure, the brother would’ve been the perfect hero, perfect for another cookie-cutter action movie. And we certainly don’t have enough of those out there. *insert eye roll here*
Now, let me step back to say the movie itself was very clever at putting the audience in the perspective of a strong, capable, intelligent woman who – without giving spoilers – was gaslighted and made to feel lesser than by all the big strong he-men around her, including her brother. So, the fact, that this freakin’ badass of a woman takes on a Predator was powerful and satisfying and made the movie the horror masterpiece that it is.
But back to the brother. The character added a great deal to the movie, there is no doubt about that. As a side character. Having him be the “hero” would not have added an extra element to the plot nor would it have made the movie better. The actor is fantastic, and he was perfectly cast in the role, and that role… was exactly what it needed to be.
You may be thinking, well those male movie aficionados may have a point. Maybe their criticism of a female lead has some validity. Let me explain something. The major consensus seemed to center around this concept (and I’m quoting): “Her fighting skills were exaggerated; it just wasn’t believable. There’s no way she would be able to fight like that.” Wasn’t believable. Wasn’t. Believable. In a sci-fi horror movie, something wasn’t believable. Go figure. I love when people watch a fictional movie and then tear it apart for not being accurate. I mean, hey, maybe I’m wrong, I guess I should go pick up a history book and see how the Predator vs Native American tribe battle really went down.
It’s like when people are legitimately upset because “cars don’t explode like that in real life.” As they’re watching Transformers, a film about giant robotic shape-shifting alien vehicles from a distant universe.
The same guys who thought the female lead’s fighting skills were unbelievable also expounded the view that (another quote), “The brother was more believable as a fighter and a hero, his action sequences were amazing.” Cause you know, HIS fighting skills were right on the mark. These are the same folks who totally believe the whole Predator comes to Earth to hunt prey scenario, and of course, that checks out. However, it’s the FEMALE lead’s fighting skills that get called into question. That’s the unbelievable bit.
I’m serious, Facebook needs to add an emoticon of Picard’s facepalm meme. Or better yet, Dana Scully’s. I’m kind of singling out these few comments but know that there were hundreds more just like them, all from men, who took issue with a female lead in a Predator movie, a female who could kick ass, but should’ve been a man.
These are the same people who apparently forget about Ellen Ripley and Sarah Connor. Of course, those movies had the same type of male characters who downplayed the female’s role and tried to gaslight her (just like with Prey), so, yeah, there’s that.