Kidnap horror from Shudder is more of a shrugger
A young Belgian retail estate agent, Eve, is picked up at a bar by a man who saves her from the unwanted attention of another. The night soon turns sinister when this man and an accomplice kidnap Eve and drive towards a location with the intention of making Eve the next “star” of a snuff movie. But an incident on the road allows Eve a chance of escape and a game of cat-and-mouse begins in the night-clouded woods.
The cast of virtual unknowns, in particular the two leads Lucie Debay as Eve and Christian Bronchart as “The Foreman”, try their utmost to keep this story tense and gripping as it deserves to be. Sadly they’re let down by a very poor script and a hastily written plot with seemingly NO rewrites or far too many.
The major flaw in this movie is the incredibly messy foley mix. The kissing sounds are seemingly heavily inspired by ASMR of someone eating a rather sloppy spaghetti bolognese and the injury detail is just very…squelchy. They are incredibly distracting and the key to a good job made on the the sound effects is when you barely notice them. These are noticeable and more.
‘Hunted’ has at least 4 themes running through it that go absolutely nowhere. The supernatural theme that is fleshed out in the films intro plays absolutely zero part in any of the proceedings. There is a theme of lunacy that appears in the character of “The Foreman” that makes fleeting appearances twice but they do little in convincing us that he is anything than a twisted, callous rapist and murderer. and the less said about “The Paintball Scene”, the better (Yes. Paintball. If you are confused now, witnessing doesn’t bring anymore clarity to proceedings).
However the biggest problem is the clear influences on the creative direction of this movie. It very clearly wants to be a mixture of the heavily exploitative horror works such as Hostel, I Spit On Your Grave and The Last House On The Left. Now, thankfully, whether it due to budget constraints or a moral compass existing in director Vincent Parronnaud (best known for writing and directing 2007’s Cannes Jury Prize award winning ‘Persepolis’), it never dwells as low as those aforementioned vile pieces of work.
It does however (amazingly) manage to become more boring and dull than the above unholy trinity. If these are your influences, fine, you make that kind of movie and it belongs where it belongs, (or you can make the thrilling but brutally blood-soaked Revenge). You cant however, set out your stall like that and then completely shy away from anything stomach-churning unless, of course, your intention is to make an absolute mess like this.
This is a rather forgettable, dull movie. Rather disappointing as I expect better from the people at Shudder as we’ve seen from the likes of Spiral, the Zoom-Séance horror HOST and previously mentioned Revenge. Unfortunately a real let-down.