- The best Predator movie is the original 1987 film, "Predator," starring Arnold Schwarzenegger.
- "Predators" (2010) is a satisfying sequel that captures the spirit of the original while introducing new twists.
- "Prey" (2022) breaks the franchise formula by setting the story in the 18th century and featuring a female protagonist who shatters gender norms.
Ever since the Predator first appeared on the big screen in 1987, the iconic alien hunter has stalked its way into pop culture legend as one of the greatest movie monsters ever. With his chilling camouflage abilities, array of high-tech weaponry, and ruthlessly efficient hunting techniques, the Predator has provided no shortage of edge-of-your-seat thrills and chills across his surprisingly extensive filmography.
Of course, not all Predator films are created equal. Like any long-running franchise, there have been impressive highs and forgettable lows over the past 37 years’ worth of Predator movies.
For that, and to commemorate the galaxy’s most ruthless hunter, we’ve compiled a list of the best Predator movies. We’ll trek through the Predator franchise’s jungle to analyze which action-packed sci-fi/horror instalments deliver the most compelling otherworldly action – and which are just ugly “Mister Falcons.”
There’s just something special about the Predator creature that keeps fans coming back for more intergalactic hunter action. So get ready to suit up and cross some Predators off your list as we separate the dreadlocked wheat from the chaff.
7. Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem (2007)
At the absolute bottom of the barrel, we have the much-maligned Alien vs. Predator: Requiem from 2007. This intergalactic showdown is far from being one of the best Predator movies. The film doubles down on gory violence and dark visuals instead of coherent storytelling and compelling characters.
Unnecessarily murky cinematography and lighting make the action frustratingly impossible to decipher. The pointless upping of graphic kills adds nothing of value. Meanwhile, the hackneyed plot brings nothing new to the promising Alien vs. Predator matchup, relying instead on clichés and recycled ideas that fall flat. The wasted potential of the Predalien hybrid is also unforgivable, transforming what could have been a terrifying crossbreed into an awkward and disappointing beast.
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Combine all this with bland human characters, illogical scenes that insult the audience’s intelligence, and a general sense of directionless storytelling, and it’s clear why Requiem is near-universally scorned by critics and fans alike as an ugly and unpleasant entry in the Predator franchise.
6. The Predator (2018)
Hopes were high for a Predator franchise revitalization with Shane Black of the original 1987 film back on board for 2018’s The Predator. Unfortunately, the result failed to rekindle the Predator magic.
An overload of forced, Marvel-like comedy undercuts any tension or horror surrounding the intergalactic hunter. The attempts at humour often feel tonally inappropriate or fall flat entirely. The overcomplicated plot involving a rogue Predator, a secret government conspiracy, and DNA harvesting is convoluted and nonsensical.
To make matters worse, unfocused editing and extensive reshoots result in a choppy, inconsistent tone and scenes that contradict character motivations. Weak character development gives the audience little reason to invest in the protagonists’ fate.
Most questionable is an offensive storyline implying autism is the next stage of human evolution. Portraying autism as allowing supernatural communication with the Predator rightfully drew criticism and outrage.
That sequel tease at the end is as silly now as it was back in 2018. We never got to Boyd Holbrook as the Iron Man/Predator hybrid we were promised. And for that, we’re thankful.
5. AVP: Alien vs. Predator (2004)
Landing somewhere in the middle of the rankings of best Predator movies is 2004’s Alien vs. Predator, the original crossover between two of sci-fi/horror’s most iconic extraterrestrial monsters. This intergalactic showdown elicited a polarized response from fans and critics alike.
On the positive side, AVP delivered impressive visual effects and action sequences that highlighted the unique abilities of both the Alien xenomorphs and Predator hunters. Exploring the hidden lore of how these creatures came to be, including the Predators’ involvement in early human civilizations, intrigued long-time fans. The film also provided fan service moments, homaging the self-destructive scene from the original Predator, Alien Queen battles, and shocking chest-burster scenes that defined both series.
However, many took issue with the PG-13 restraints on violence, which diminished the visceral thrills promised by two R-rated powerhouse horror franchises. Beyond that, AVP suffered from a generic, unengaging story populated by disposable cardboard cutout characters. Lack of respect for previously established continuity also grated on loyal fans, with plot holes and inconsistencies introduced, including inexplicable accelerations to the Alien life cycle.
While the cool creature effects and action are fun, the weak plot and characters ultimately make AVP a mixed bag. It offers occasional franchise highlights for die-hard Alien and Predator devotees but fails to fully deliver on the expected hard-hitting showdown implied by the iconic movie monsters coming together for the first time on the big screen.
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4. Predator 2 (1990)
Coming in at number four is 1990’s Predator 2, the original follow-up to the beloved 1987 sci-fi action classic. While far from the worst of the series, Predator 2 failed to fully recapture the magic of the seminal original film that launched the intergalactic hunter into icon status.
A chief complaint was the lack of star power; Arnold Schwarzenegger’s charisma is sorely missed, with replacement Danny Glover failing to command the screen with equal magnetism in the role of a streetwise LA cop.
The shift to an urban setting also diminishes the tension and atmosphere that the claustrophobic jungle provides in enhancing the Predator as a stealthy hunter. Now forced to stalk the concrete jungle, criticisms arose over the sequel’s reliance on excessive gore and violence over suspense and subtle thrills. Remember that scene with the voodoo killings?
Additionally, Predator 2 does little to meaningfully expand on the intricate alien mythology and culture barely glimpsed in the first film. Instead of gaining intriguing insights, we get a foul-mouthed skull-collecting killer with little shades of depth or nuance. Yes, he swears in this film.
All in all, Predator 2 was a wasted chance to enrich the predator as a compelling creature in most areas. At least it introduced the world to the idea that the Predators and the xenomorphs had met before.
While failing to hit the creative high notes of one of the most influential sci-fi films ever made, Predator 2 acts as a serviceable expansion on the Predator legend for hardcore fans, if not one that breaks new ground in the way the best Predator movies do. It sits firmly in the middle as an exciting, if flawed, further glimpse into the deadly species behind the mask. It’s also one of the sweatiest action movies ever made, and that deserves some recognition.
3. Prey (2022)
Breaking the franchise formula in creative ways is 2022’s Prey, the most recent cinematic outing for the legendary extraterrestrial trophy hunter. Set in the 18th century, Prey takes the predator legend back to its roots with a fresh perspective centred around Naru, a fierce Comanche warrior determined to protect her tribe from a mysterious threat lurking in the wilderness.
Led with conviction by star Amber Midthunder, Prey succeeds largely on the compelling strength of its lead heroine, a female protagonist who shatters gender norms for the franchise. Complementing Naru’s journey is Prey‘s tense atmosphere, heightened through raw natural settings and heightened sound design that maximizes the primal tension.
Smart homages to the 1987 original also reward loyal fans. Less effective are inconsistent CGI effects on the predator itself that sometimes undermine the tangible threat. Prey also relies on familiar genre tropes like arrogant male characters and plot conveniences that fail to surprise.
With a captivating lead, fresh perspective, and thrilling back-to-basics vision, Prey reinvigorates the Predator franchise with a creative twist on the iconic sci-fi showdown fans love. It may not be perfect, but Prey is alive with potential for where the series can boldly go next.
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2. Predators (2010)
When it comes to satisfying sequels, 2010’s Predators stands tall by perfectly capturing the exhilarating spirit of the 1987 original while introducing inventive new twists. An instant fan favourite, Predators succeeds by dropping a thrillingly diverse cast of characters onto an alien game preserve planet where they must combine their skills to survive bloodthirsty hunters.
Everything in Predators just seems to get why fans loved the explosive 1987 original so much. From the cheesy but awesome one-on-one encounters against the Predators to the (sometimes excessive) use of one-liners, Nimród Antal deserves to be applauded as one of the best filmmakers in the franchise.
The idea of a hunting preserve planet takes the Predator formula to new heights – literally. It also manages to do what AVP tried before (making the Predator mythos feel larger) – only this one does things absolutely right.
1. Predator (1987)
When it comes to the most thrilling extraterrestrial threat ever depicted on film, nothing tops 1987’s iconic masterpiece Predator, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger at the height of his action superstar powers. This intensely macho sci-fi/horror hybrid represents ground zero for the intergalactic hunter’s cinematic legacy, setting the bar impossibly high in terms of nerve-shredding tension and timelessly quotable dialogue still echoing through pop culture today.
From Arnie’s epic one-liners to the ominous reveal of the Predator itself, Predator absolutely delivers the perfect ingredients for a relentless ride full of blood, machetes, tons of mud, and more blood.
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Stan Winston’s iconic Predator design is the stuff of nightmares; an imposing, towering creature of deathly mandibles and infrared vision. Matching the visually stunning creation is Alan Silvestri’s pounding percussion-heavy score, the driving rhythmic backbone warning of the hunter lurking in wait. Add to that a gallon of R-rated gore, and you have the definitive playbook on executing the ultimate Predator movie.
For primal action, powerful presence, and immediately legendary iconography, Predator will always remain at the very top when ranking the best Predator movies. It’s an impeccably constructed rollercoaster ride filled with explosions and extraterrestrial menace that defined both a franchise and an era of adrenaline-soaked event cinema.