One of the most important things a horror film needs to work is the ability to make you care about its characters. You need to want them to survive whatever horrors they endure. You want to see them kick ass. It’s not even always the good guys you’re rooting for either. Sometimes it’s the villain. But whether it’s Ash taking down Deadites, or the Firefly family sticking it to Sheriff Wydel, you must have someone to give a damn about. This is where the French film The Hunt falters. At a mere 74 minutes in length there is not a moment that you care about anyone in this film. The story centers around desperate tabloid writer Alex, who we are introduced to via a scene where he’s photographing a woman in bed with a dog, and not in a cute cuddling-with-my-puppy kind of way. It seems Alex’ work at the paper he writes for has been a cause for concern for his editor and she gives him one week to dig up something to use. Alex proceeds to ask his dominatrix girlfriend if she can help by digging up dirt on one of her high-class clients. She hesitantly agrees and Alex is off to find a story.
By taking a phone call while snooping around a public officials house he stumbles upon his story. The story he finds, however isn’t the typical tabloid smut, it’s a group of wealthy men hunting humans for sport and gambling on the “games.” Following the directions given to him over the phone, Alex heads out-of-town to a secluded mansion where the hunt is to take place. The game consists of six men, dressed in army fatigues and masks concealing their identity, who each place their bet in a small black box which is then handcuffed to one of the prey’s wrists. Whoever catches and kills that particular person keeps the cash in the box. It’s more or less Hostel with moving targets and gambling on the kill instead of paying to perform the kill. Oh, and for some reason the rich guy who is running the whole thing’s henchmen are dressed and masked like it was Eyes Wide Shut 2.
The hunting in The Hunt doesn’t occur until halfway through, and by this time we’ve been introduced to half a dozen characters we couldn’t care less about so any impact that could have been achieved is non existent. Of course we witness Alex being swept up into the hunt, and questioning himself for the inevitable hunter/hunted role reversal. It’s just not enough. David Scherer’s make up effects are good, but also too minimal to carry the film. If The Hunt lacked all character but was an absolute blood bath it would be a different story altogether. A complete barrage of carnage would at least provide us with some eye candy. As it stands, the film takes way too long to reach its titular hunt, and by then it’s too little too late.
The Hunt scores 1 out of 5 Screaming Jamies