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September 13, 2012

Movie Review: The Hunt (2010)

Directed by Thomas Szczepanski

Starring Jellali Mouina, Sarah Lucide and Michel Coste

Run Time: 74 min.

French Language with English Subtitles

A young reporter for a French tabloid is given an ultimatum by his editor- Bring in a juicy story or get fired. As a last resort he turns to his escort/girlfriend in the hopes of attaining the type of lead that will save his job. Unfortunately for him, that's exactly what he gets. Accepting a phone call from a mysterious stranger, he follows a set of cryptic directions which lands him at a remote country manor where he is suddenly plunged into a deadly game where random people are kidnapped off the streets and wealthy people pay big bucks for the privilege of hunting them like wild animals with bows, arrows and hunting knives.....a game where he is forced to kill in order to survive.

The Hunt starts out with a prologue showing the audience how the hapless people are pulled off the streets and prepped for the game, tied to chairs and then getting their tongues cut out with a pair of gardening shears (pretty sweet). The remainder of the first half of the film is basically a set-up for the hunt, showing our main character in search of his big lead. This part of the film was pretty tedious and marred by the sub-par acting of the supporting characters, often trying to be funny but just not pulling it off very well. Once the film gets to the meat and potato’s of the story though (IE-The Hunt ), its able to transform itself into a pretty decent little thriller/horror movie. And although the basic story has been done before on several occasions, credit should be given to the film makers for at least making an effort to add some original elements to their version of The Most Dangerous Game. In this story our lead character is among the masked hunters and soon finds out that the hunters are just as eager to kill each other as they are their tongueless victims who have boxes of cash handcuffed to their wrists.
One good thing this movie has going for it is the gore/violence level, which steadily ratchets up as the film progresses. When we get to the final 10 minutes or so, the movie has a definite Hostel-esque quality to it, with the butchering of human corpses and a guy being eaten alive by pigs, (all great fun for gore hounds).

For a movie that obviously had a pretty low budget I was impressed with the level of tension they were able to achieve too. I definitely felt like I was in the game and along for the ride once the film hit the 40 minute mark. And one of the things I do love about modern foreign made horror movies is the fact that the film makers often have no qualms about killing off the lead characters, no matter how attached the audience may become to them. Hopefully that doesn't spoil too much of the story for you.

Overall, I’d rate it a decent enough movie with plenty of gore, but the middle act from the 10 minute to the 40 minute mark are really what hurt this one for me. If your willing to wade through that 30 minutes of uninspired film making though, you will be rewarded with some pretty cool cinema in the end. It does earn a passing score, so I recommend giving it a shot if your into the whole Hunting Humans theme.

6.5 out of 10

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