02nd Jul2011

‘Hunger’ DVD Review

by Paul Metcalf

Stars: Lori Heuring, Linden Ashby, Joe Egender | Written by L.D. Goffigan | Directed by Steven Hentges

Imagine a social experiment where five people are tracked within a dungeon provided with only water and a clock counting down to some unknown event. I know, Big Brothers got a lot to answer for right? This is Hunger.

Five people wake up in an underground dungeon in a premise that is very reminiscent of Saw II, they have never met before but are all connected in some way. From the bones strewn it’s clear that people have been and died there before but other than that there is no evidence of a way out. As the hunger grows the newly formed society within the group begins to fracture as the almost omnipresent figure of their captor watches on by camera, waiting for that moment they turn on each other and the battle to survive will begin.

The interesting thing about Hunger is the way that the micro society works. Almost like a pack of wolves in the wilderness it’s the weakest that are picked off first so that the stronger ones can survive. The strongest of the lot though may be the one who refuses to take part in the actual society that has formed, but it is they who will go through the worst of the torture if they choose to take that path. As pacts are created and members of the group are killed for food a new problem forms as they small population of the dungeon begins to dwindle. This of course causes another change in the structure of the group as with each kill friendships must be altered and Machiavellian manipulations must be put into place to survive until they are free. It all turns into a battle of both wills and survival as the group fight for their lives while their captor sits and watches, waiting for them all to kill each other. He seems to relish the control he has on them, but also has a weakness in his belief that all of the group will take the choice of cannibalism over death.

Of course the simplistic nature of the movie and the fact the cast is quite small is part of this movies downfall in the end. Although Lori Heuring who plays Jordan is a strong actress who manages to portray the role she is given with believability it’s the other characters that are weaker. This may be down to the fact that our attention is pulled onto Jordan as she goes through most of problems in the dungeon through her refuses to be a part of the society and even fights against the original killing of the weakest character for the group to eat. The movie turns into more of a battle of wills between Jordan, the group and the ever present almost voyeuristic watcher as he surveys his little kingdom.

Hunger is not a bad movie, it’s quite interesting in the way it portrays a breakdown in society based on the human need for survival. Its problem is the limited space the actors have to work with and the fact that the story never fully manages to hit the watcher with the reality of the situation they are in. Yes we see them slowly get hungry, we see them become desperate but I’d argue we don’t see enough of them suffering for this. They don’t look to lose any weight, they don’t weaken as you would expect, and the one character that shows signs of true cabin fever from being trapped in such a small space is too silly to believably have lost their mind, it’s just a plot point for another action scene. This is a movie that’s worth at least one watch but I’d not expect another viewing.

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