Hunter Hunter is a horror movie that can go one of two ways for the average film connoisseur. Some will simply love it for its hammer drop brutality. For others, the sheer nihilistic concepts as the story follows a family of fur trappers and the particularly gruesome encounters may prove to be a little much. A survivalist terror and horror film set against the bare skeleton of a simplistic story. It’s held up by the bones of traditional fairytales. In modern times, the princess kisses the frog and gets a prince and Goldilocks safely leaves the home of the three bears. Here a brave hunter, a fair lady, and her whimsical but strong daughter find that the circle of life can still be kicked down from the outside. Especially if what’s outside can get in.
I’ll Huff And I’ll Puff
Like any good wickedly dark tale, Hunter Hunter also has a wolf. The family, living in isolation eat what they catch and sometimes go hungry when pickings are slim. This wolf caused them some major drama in the year just passed and now it’s time to eradicate the problem. Father Joe and his home schooled daughter, set out to track the monster and stop it from emptying out their traps. The tension of the first quarter strangles you with the preconceived ideas of what we know about wolves, their ability to hunt and people alone in the woods. We expect the planted narrative from Joe about the types of prey a wolf generally goes for to be predictive of future events. Joe and his daughter look for clues in the forest, while Anne nervously holds the fort at home unsure about whether Renee’s presence is a good idea.
Joe is a steadfast and calculated hunter. He passes his knowledge to his offspring like a rite of passage and she laps it up like an eager student. The line between independence and shady risk taking blurs as Joe decides Renee should head back to the house when evidence that the wolf is close presents itself. Between bouts of Joe howling into the surrounding woods, Renee walking alone with a rifle as protection and her mother attempting to collect water for the family, the camera flits between the three locations. This trio of elements mashed up against each other make for a nail biting experience and ensure a mild heart attack is abating before continuing the story.
Writer-Director Shawn Linden
Writer-director Shawn Linden should be commended for such a brilliant opening and one that thrill-seekers like me optimally want from a film. Background information is slim for this family. There are some minor incidental questions raised when the jaw-dropping finale has played out and one is left to think about some of Anne’s decision making.
But for those that watch this and sing the films’ praises, there is definitely more to rave about than criticize. The sound design, for example, denounces one of my least favorite things about horror movies of this type. Where there should be so much screaming you want to mute the volume, Hunter Hunter utilizes a questionable prop to its advantage and mutes it for you. This fantastic dark pilgrimage about predators relishes in not overdosing on on-screen violence until it wants you to drown in it.
Sometimes the best filmmaking leaves certain things to your imagination and Hunter Hunter does this exceptionally well.
I give Hunter Hunter
4 If you go down to the woods today out of 5
Where to Watch Hunter Hunter 2020
- Writer-director: Shawn Linden (Nobody, a self-financed directorial debut.)
- Starring: Camille Sullivan (The Disappearance), Summer H. Howell (Curse of Chucky), Devon Sawa (The Fanatic), and Nick Stahl (Sin City,)
- Released on the 18th December 2020 and available to buy or rent. This IFC Midnight Film was acquired as a screener for review purposes by Mother of Movies. This film comes highly recommended for those who love shocking thrills.
- Have you tried IFC Films Unlimited? A new subscription video and on-demand service streaming channel.
- Produced by Julijette.
- Definitely seek out these predatory movies: A 2020 horror movie based on the Big Bad Wolf / Best Australian True Crime Movies / Predator
- Mother of Movies listed Hunter Hunter in the top 45 best movies of 2020, see the full list.
Trailer for Hunter Hunter