Directed by Fritz Kiersch
Distributed by Image Entertainment
One close look at the box for The Hunt, and it’s pretty apparent what our happy-go-lucky hunters are going to find out in the woods — aliens! The little grey buggers just love the great outdoors. And sticking it to hunters who kill defenseless animals for the sake of having trophies hung upon their walls? Count me in for wanting to see a mucho violent anal probing. I popped this flick in having never heard of it and fully expecting it to suck. Ninety minutes later I found myself pretty friggin’ surprised.
The story is as follows: Two men head out into the woods with a little boy in tow in order to get footage for a new hunting DVD that they hope to release through Wal-Mart. The stage could not have been more set for them. They had exclusive rights for a property that deer were specifically dropped off on. All they had to do was make the kill and get it on tape. Things were going just fine until they reached a fence in the middle of the woods. A fence with no doors, with razor wire on the inside, as a means to keep something in. Throwing caution to the wind, our trio shimmies under the fence to follow what they think is a wounded buck inside of the confines.
We come to find out that they have stumbled upon a hunting ground in which they are the targets. The hitch? The new hunters are not of the human variety. In fact, these aliens have apparently made a deal with our government (I’d love to see Bush try to spin this one) to have prisoners dropped off there to be used for game. That’s pretty fucking deep. Needless to say, our group disappears.
Their families, however, start their own search and rescue operation. One that leads them to find some startling footage left behind in the team’s recovered cameras. Footage that can without question prove the existence of extraterrestrial life. But will the government allow that to happen?
Throughout the film’s run time The Hunt has two stories being told simultaneously — that of the hunters and that of their families’ quest to find them. Things switch seamlessly from first to third person storytelling, and I have to give director Fritz (Children of the Corn) Kiersch a lot of credit for delivering a solid film despite the multiple narratives. Truth be told, for the first half of the movie viewers will find themselves almost completely riveted. What happened to these people? What’s out there? Where are Mulder and Scully when you need them?!
The second half … not so much.
Sadly, as soon as the shit begins to hit the proverbial fan, some of the acting also takes a dip in quality. The edginess and intensity of the setup starts to dissipate a bit, and before you know it, we’re hit by cliche after cliche. From Blair Witch style shaky cams to our once rich characters just going through the now standard bickering motions. Thankfully, despite nearly falling victim to an endless free-fall, The Hunt picks itself up and finishes really strong. This came as a relief as too many films have managed to drop the ball during their third act.
Speaking of dropped balls … that’s exactly what we get in terms of supplemental materials. Other than your standard making-of featurette, the DVD is as quiet as a peaceful day out in the country. Sad. This was one case in which I was really hoping for at least a commentary track.
All in all, The Hunt does exactly what it should do and more. It’s thick with atmosphere and has some genuine creeps to spare. It also stands as a sterling example of why people should just stay out of the fucking woods. Me? I’ll never have to worry about stuff like that. I’m a city boy and make it a rule not to go to places where I’m likely to have to wipe my ass with a handful of leaves. YAY CONCRETE AND SMOG!
The Making-of The Hunt featurette
3 1/2 out of 5
1 out of 5
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