Director – Shawn Linden (In Plain Sight, Nobody)
Starring – Camille Sullivan (Supergirl, Dead Rising: Endgame), Summer H. Howell (Cult of Chucky, The Midnight Man), and Devon Sawa (Final Destination, Idle Hands)
Release Date – 2020
Rating – 2.5/5
The IFC Midnight and Scream Factory collaborative releases have been hit or miss with me. Some are extremely entertaining with bold stories and seriously dark atmosphere to further the movie experience. Sadly, not all films are like this. A few weeks ago I was sent a press release for several IFC and Scream/Shout Factory releases.
The one that really caught my eye was the David Bowie biopic Stardust but I was soon drawn to the 2020 horror thriller Hunter Hunter starring Devon Sawa and Nich Stahl. Both of those names were a huge part of my childhood. I was obsessed with Idle Hands and Disturbing Behavior in my teen years so I was very curious about this one. I reached out to Shout Factory and they were kind enough to send a copy my way.
**Spoiler Alert** The film follows a family living deep in the woods with little contact with the outside world. They suspect that a wolf is prowling near their cabin and attempt to track it. However, when the father fails to return home his wife and daughter venture into town to report him as missing. The local authorities don’t pay them any mind so they return to their cabin only to find an injured man nearby. They bring him in and tend to his wounds before resuming their search for their missing husband and father. However, when they come across his body they realize that the injured man is the one that has been prowling around their cabin and he isn’t afraid to kill. **Spoiler Alert**
I went into this one expecting a movie more in line with the title but it wasn’t. The movie was extremely slow and down beaten until the final scene which packed a fucking punch. I wanted to like it, especially after that amazing final scene but the movie as a whole was a bit of a task to finish.
The acting in this one is very well done. The characters are not that memorable and well written but the cast does a fantastic job with their roles. Sawa is great as the father who is teaching life lessons to his daughter while Camille Sullivan absolutely nails her performance as the worrisome mother. Her final scene gave me goosebumps as well. She fucking nails it. I have to say that I was a bit disappointed in how they handled Nick Stahl’s character. I’ll mention this more in the story section of my review.
The story for this one is not what I was expecting and didn’t live up to the title like I had hoped. With the title Hunter Hunter I was expecting a serial killer to stalk this family in the woods resulting in a dark thriller as people fought for survival in the wilderness. Sadly, that is not the case. We get a family who find themselves trying to trap and kill a wolf that has been roaming near their homestead. Then we get introduced to Stahl’s character during the final portion of the film before it’s revealed that he is responsible for the disappearance of the patriarch of the family. It’s almost like two ideas where thrown out to see which would stick but they both made it into the film. We needed a lot more of Stahl’s character hunting the family and possibly toying with them.
Finally, the film has some blood and great make-up effects with the last scene leaving a lasting impression with me. It was absolutely phenomenal but does get lost in the shuffle with the rest of the film. Overall, Hunter Hunter could have been a fucking fantastic film if it would have gave us a story that resembled the title. Instead, it’s a slow paced drama about a mother and daughter searching their father while a wild wolf and a man is hunting in the woods. The ending is a must see but the build up to it is a tough one to finish.