Naru staring forward in close-up, lit by fire

After the poorly-received last entry in the franchise, director Shane Black’s "The Predator" in 2018, it’s been a pleasant surprise to see a new "Predator" movie delight both fans and critics. "Prey," directed by Dan Trachtenberg of "10 Cloverfield Lane," takes the "hunt or be hunted" thrills of the original 1987 movie and transplants the action to the 18th century Great Plains region of America and its indigenous people.

The central highlight of "Prey" is its young protagonist, Naru (Amber Midthunder). She quickly establishes herself as an excellent, relatable sci-fi hero who’s trying to earn the respect of her tribe — specifically respect from her brother Taabe (Dakota Beavers) and his group of hunters. Naru is a trained healer, but to complete her right of passage as a hunter she decides she needs to take on the destructive new threat she will soon learn is a Predator (Dane DiLiegro).

Throughout Naru’s journey, she continually proves that she’s both braver and more clever than her community gives her credit for. But she isn’t just an unstoppable action hero — she’s fallible and human, making many mistakes that only make her a more engaging, well-rounded character. Ultimately, of course, she’s able to outsmart the intergalactic hunter by having the guts to lure him into a risky trap. Midthunder gets a lot of moments to shine in "Prey," so let’s get down to ranking Naru’s finest scenes by looking at her bravery on display in each of them.

12. Saving Sarii from the bear trap

Sarii and Naru peer over a ridge

Right away in the first five minutes of the movie, we’re given a telling glimpse into the kind of character Naru will prove herself to be. At the start of "Prey," Naru’s trusty companion dog Sarrii (played by performing pup Coco) gets her leg stuck in a bear trap. Not only does this foreshadow later scenes in which bear traps will appear in much more dire circumstances, it also says a lot about Naru without any dialogue at all.

By saving her dog, the first thing we get to know about Naru is her compassion and her utter fearlessness when a loved one is hurt. Despite her struggles with them, she values her family and will protect them at all costs. This is one very important aspect of the character — actions speak louder than words in this sequence that showcases Naru’s bravery early on. However, this isn’t all there is to the movie’s young Comanche hero. She is, above all, incredibly driven to prove herself as a hunter, despite the gender norms of her tribe (and the world in general). This drive will go on to inspire her actions throughout "Prey."

11. Saving herself from the quicksand swamp with the rope axe

Naru holding her axe and looking at it mouth agape

Despite its setting in the early 1700s, "Prey" is still recognizably a "Predator" movie, and clearly Trachtenberg and his crew recognized their obligation to bring some sweet new gadgets for the Predator to use. Luckily, "Prey" delivers spectacularly on this front, but one of the coolest pieces of tech in the film is actually developed by Naru. Early on into hunting the alien (before she has any idea what she’s really up against), she ties a rope to her hatchet in order to be able to throw and retrieve the weapon quickly.

Trachtenberg revealed during an interview with ComicBook.com that he drew inspiration from the "God of War" video games for this rope axe that allows Naru to pull off some stylish kills without ever losing her trusty weapon. It goes on to pay off with a crucial role in the movie, particularly in the scene when Naru first stumbles into the quicksand swamp and finds herself sinking with seemingly little hope of escape. The only way out is to use the rope axe to latch onto a downed tree and pull herself up. This moment highlights Naru’s resourcefulness and her ability to think on her feet — a unique form of bravery that will prove to be important later on.

10. No, he has us

Itsee aims his bow with targeting lasers on his forehead

After attacking the Comanche hunting party in the bloody scene prior, the Predator stalks Naru and Itsee (Harlan Blayne Kytwayhat) into the tall grass clearing near the camp. Hiding out in the grass, Itsee — an overconfident hunter in the Comanche tribe — spots the Predator and thinks he has the upper hand. He even says to Naru, "We have him." A moment too late, Naru realizes that the Predator’s trio of targeting lasers have locked on to Itsee. She responds with a chilling observation: "No, he has us."

Naru tells Itsee to run and motions for him to get down, ensuring that the Predator’s shot just misses. But still, it’s no use. As the two run away, Itsee is caught by the Predator and dies in one of the most brutal deaths "Prey" has to offer. This moment illustrates that although she hasn’t gotten the chance to prove herself, Naru truly is a skilled hunter who uses her instincts to assess a situation. She has the wisdom to recognize that it isn’t always cowardly to run — choosing what keeps you alive in a long battle of attrition with a foe like the Predator is always the correct choice.

9. Making a deal with Raphael to learn how to use a gun

Raphael Adolini's pistol being loaded

After the Predator’s assault on the French trappers’ camp, Naru returns to retrieve Sarii, but she’s surprised to find that one of the men still clings to life. The survivor turns out to be the group’s translator, Raphael (Bennett Taylor). He begs Naru to heal him before he bleeds out. However, taking advantage of her position of power, Naru says that she will only do it if Raphael teaches her how to use his Flintlock pistol. Barely clinging to life, the translator has no choice but to agree to her terms. After demonstrating how it works, he gives her the Flintlock and Naru gives him medicinal herbs to treat his bleeding wound.

Aside from giving Naru a gun that she will obviously use to take down the Predator later, this moment proves itself to be an opportunity for her. After she uses the herbs on Raphael the Predator returns, allowing Naru to discover a hidden property of her medicine. The Predator can’t see Raphael due to his reduced body heat, and that’s when Naru realizes that its vision is based on heat signatures. This moment is, of course, a big reference to the original "Predator," echoing the scene in which Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Dutch discovers that the Predator can’t see him when he’s covered in mud.

8. Leaving home to go after the Predator

Naru drawing her bow string

Sometimes, there’s a thin line between bravery and being an idiot. And sharp as she may be, Naru is riding that line hard when she decides to leave the Comanche camp without telling anyone where she’s headed. In pursuit of the Predator, Naru is getting in way over her head. Ultimately, though, this proves to be an act of bravery instead of foolishness, proving to be a real turning point in "Prey."

Naru needs to embark on her "kühtaamia," a rite of passage that all hunters must undergo in order to prove themselves to the tribe. The details of this ritual are important, since they require the hunter to hunt an animal that can also hunt them — a predator. Naru realizes before everyone else that the alien interloper is a hunter, and she accepts his arrival as a sign it is her time to be tested. The moment she decides to go out on her own, without anyone’s help, Naru commits to making this hunt her kühtaamia, and it drives her for the rest of the movie. Naru is determined not to rest until she brings that Predator’s head back.

7. Returning with the Predator’s head

Naru stands with green Predator blood on her face

At the end of the movie, Naru gets to complete her arc in a triumphant finale. As she returns from the hunt victorious, she comes back to the camp covered in neon green Predator blood with the head of her prey held in her hands. It’s the most empowering moment Naru gets in the whole movie, bringing her character full circle. As the community gathers around her, she holds the head high to accept her rightful place as a Comanche warrior. She isn’t just any warrior, though — Naru is the sole survivor of her tribe’s warriors.

This isn’t merely Naru coming back from her kühtaamia, regularly a cause for celebration, but her returning as the savior of her tribe. Having killed the creature that took her brother and the rest of the male hunters, Naru has made her way to the top of the food chain in a short matter of time. With the rest of the hunters dead, Naru remains the singular defense the tribe has. When she departed she wasn’t yet a hunter, but at the end of "Prey" Naru returns as a leader.

6. Smarter than a beaver

Naru tied to a tree looking around

After they’re both independently captured by the French trappers, Naru and Taabe are tied up to a tree together and used as bait for the Predator. But since the Predator only hunts humans and animals who pose a threat to it, it ignores the captives and goes straight for the armed trappers who are waiting in the wings to attack. Amid the chaos, Naru thinks on her feet to figure out how to free herself and Taabe from their ropes.

Upon seeing the bear trap on the group near their restraints, Naru figures out how she can use it to cut their ropes. Trachtenberg uses this opportunity to trick the viewer, as Naru begins telling Taabe a story about how a beaver will escape from traps by chewing its own leg off. Taabe begins to panic, thinking his sister is about to sacrifice their limbs for their freedom. She doesn’t, instead dropping a rock to successfully cut the rope before declaring, "I’m smarter than a beaver." It’s an undeniably cool one-liner in the vein of ’80s action movies like "Predator."

5. Assault on the trapper camp

French trappers gathering around

One of the most brutal moments in "Prey" doesn’t even need a Predator around to set off a flurry of violence. Instead, in a moment where you see the parallels between our young hero and the movie’s young Predator, Naru is the instigator of this assault. When sneaking up on the trapper camp, she sees that they have captured Sarii and intend to harm him. (As if we needed any more reason to hate these French colonizers.)

When she springs into action, Naru is quick and deadly. Using her assailants’ weapons against them, as well as her own rope axe, she swiftly puts an end to three of the trappers. It’s the moment that shows the most violent side of her, but it is crucial to proving that she’s ready to take on the Predator. Only now that as she matches the efficiency, bravery, and brutality of her prey can she understand how to take it down.

4. Getting revenge on the last trapper by using him as bait for the Predator

Predator with green blood holding weapons in its arms

One of the elements of the original "Predator" that Dan Trachtenberg picks up and amplifies in "Prey" is its commentary on colonialism (via The Escapist). The anti-colonial themes are summed up in the antagonistic relationship between the Comanche and the French trappers. The movie becomes as much about Naru facing off against them as it does about her hunt for the Predator. In the end, the final trapper’s fate is the most brutal of them all. But the elaborate — and super risky — plan that Naru uses to kill two birds with one stone shines as one of her bravest moments.

After we see Naru sneaking up on the trapper with her bow, the movie shows us that she has tied him up in an elaborate setup to lure the Predator out. She’s cut off his leg below the knee, bleeding him in order to attract the alien while hiding herself to its gaze using the medicinal herbs. Needless to say, it’s incredibly dangerous to attract a Predator to you, but this is the type of bravery Naru needs as a hunter to complete her rite of passage.

3. Shooting the Predator in the head

Predator in mask raising arm

At the end of "Prey," Naru gets to put her bravery to the test in one final face-off with the Predator. After luring her prey into the Frenchman-baited trap, Naru begins to use her wits and tools to prove herself as the true predator. The first thing she does? Shoot the Predator point blank in the head. That takes guts — especially since, if she messes this part up, the whole rest of the plan falls apart.

Not only is this moment awesome, displaying bravery beyond belief, but it ends up being crucial to how the fight plays out. When Naru shoots the Predator at point blank range with the Flintlock, his mask flies off. Earlier, Naru had observed that this mask controls the targeting on the Predator’s spear gun. She knows he is weaker without it, and cleverly uses the element of surprise to seriously handicap her enemy.

2. Ripping off the Predator’s mandible horn

Predator half cloaked and screaming

Upon rewatching "Prey," it’s easy to see that many of the moments in the final fight have been plotted out by Naru in advance. But one of the best scenes in the sequence comes when she’s forced to improvise. Near the swamp trap, Naru is forced between two rocks by the Predator, with its shield coming down slowly, threatening to decapitate her. Forced to think on her feet, that’s when she pulls off one of the sickest moves in the whole "Predator" franchise.

With the Predator bearing down on her, Naru grabs a hold of the mandible horn coming out from its mouth area. Risking angering the Predator even more but accepting that she’s already in a life or death situation, Naru uses the tool she has — the horn — to stab the Predator in the face, and takes advantage of the moment when the beast cries out in pain to flee. It’s a small beat in the middle of this awesome fight, but it stands out due to its brutality and parallelism. Across the franchise, the Predator has been known for taking heads of its prey as trophies. It’s no coincidence it tries to take Naru’s head, especially since she’s the one who winds up doing the beheading in the end.

1. Setting the ingenious final trap

Naru crouching with the Predator standing out of focus in the foreground

We’ve already alluded to it, but the elaborate and ingenious trap that Naru sets up to finally take down the Predator is the coolest moment in "Prey." The film keeps you on your toes throughout the entire climatic battle, only to reveal at the moment of the final kill that Naru has had everything in the bag the whole time. Using her knowledge from sequences throughout the movie (escaping the swamp, witnessing the Predator’s spear launcher kills, learning how to shoot from Raphael), Naru forms her ultimate plan.

From the start of the sequence when she’s hunting the tracker, Naru is setting her plan into motion. Her dislodging of the Predator’s mask was intentional. Immediately after she shot, she grabbed the mask so she could later put it in its strategic place in the tree near the swamp. When she finally lures the Predator into the swamp, she has the mask’s targeting lasers aimed right at it. When it attempts to fire its spears at Naru, the projectiles miss and hone in on the Predator instead, killing it immediately.

In her victorious moment, Naru reminds us that killing the Predator was never about firepower – it was about embracing the traits of a good hunter. Patience, cunning, and bravery all help Naru defeat the Predator with its own equipment.