Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Hunters (2011)

One of the things I've noticed about several straight to video horror films-particularly those released by Lionsgate and Anchor Bay-is that they are vehicles that largely focus on one particular cast member, while the more heavily advertised bigger star only has a small supporting role. Case in point: "The Hunters", which was directed by and stars Chris Brient, but on the cover, says that it stars Dianna Agron of "Glee" fame, who is barely in the movie at all. Call it bad marketing, call it a basic rule of generic horror and/or exploitation, or in this case, call it bad marketing in a movie that could have been much better.

Brient stars as Le Saint, a French cop who has a thing for unsolved cases. Well, he find himself embroiled in such a case, which leads him to an abandoned fort in the woods. Unfortunately for him, said fort is a place for hunters-who have a thing for "The Most Dangerous Game", if you will...

I will be honest: I expected this to be far worse than it is. In the movie's defense, the direction isn't too awful-it's hit and miss, but hey-and Brient has a good eye for location. Also, the acting is better than I thought it would be-well, except for Terrence Knox as Saint's boss-and it doesn't rely heavily on gore and has none of the torture aspects I was fearing it would have. In stead, this movie opts more for story and suspense.

Unfortunately, the story isn't all that good, and there's little if any suspense to be found. That's mostly because the movie seems to be confused as to what kind of movie it wants to be. Is it a survivalist horror tale? A horror drama? I had no clue what kind of horror movie this movie is, and that's a bit of a problem. It also doesn't help that side stories revolving around Alice (Agron) are brought in for little reason, and ultimately feel like they were added for padding, and so fans of the actress' show will be suckered into watching the movie. Finally, when Saint starts to fight back, it all feels anticlimactic, not to mention that it feels like something we've seen so many times before in the past.

I'm not going to harp on things like the trees letting off sparks when bullets hit them and the unconvincing (but limited) gore effects, because this is a low budget movie after all. I would however, like something that's at least a more coherent and interesting affair rather than the bland one I got instead.

Rating: 4/10

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