30th Nov2018

Movies You May Have Missed: ‘The Hunters’

by Phil Wheat

Welcome to the latest installment in our regular Movies You May Have Missed series here on Nerdly, in which I highlight some of, what I think, are the best movies that have flown under the radar of many or have been “forgotten” in the intervening years since its release. This time round its The Hunters, a hunting humans horror “starring” Dianna Agron (remember her? From Glee?) and NAM: Tour of Duty’s Terence Knox.

the-hunters-poster

Stars: Chris Briant, Jay Brown, Steven Waddington, Tony Becker, Terence Knox, Dianna Agron | Written by Michael Lehman | Directed by Chris Briant

Official Synopsis:

An Iraq war veteran, Le Saint, has just started working as a police officer in a small town where many unexplained disappearances of persons have occurred within the last two years. He wants to investigate the cases, but his hot-tempered chief charges him with with the escort of a turn state’s evidence. Against his chief’s orders, Le Saint relocates the meeting spot to the abandoned Fort Goben in the woods. What he doesn’t know is that the fort also serves as a secret meeting point for a group of ruthless hunters – whose prey aren’t animals.

My Thoughts:

A co-production of France, Luxembourg and Belgium, from a first time writer and a first time director? And a director who also stars as the films lead no less? That usually doesn’t bode well for any film. So imagine how surprised I was to discover that The Hunters is an interesting take on the old “hunting humans” adage that for the most part eschews both gore and cliches in a character study of just what it takes to be a “hunter”.

The film tells two concurrent stories – the first follows four guys who are fed up with their mundane everyday lives and are shit upon by everything and everyone and who live for the weekends and their hunting trips to the abandoned Fort Goben. The second follows Le Saint, a former soldier turned detective, whose ambition and determination leads him to uncover a vital lead to the towns spate of missing persons. And like any good mystery the two stories may not be that unconnected…

Billed as starring Glee‘s Dianna Agron on it’s original release, an actress who – in the end – has little more than a cameo, I was expecting very little from The Hunters. So I was surprised to find myself really engrossed by the movie, thanks to the time spent showing a human side to what could have been four cliched hunter-killer types – the scenes showing the four go about their everyday lives are incredibly effective and only help to strengthen the films final scenes. It’s such a shame the mid-section of the movie, once Le Saint heads off to Fort Goben and confronts the hunters, fails to live up to the fantastic earlier scenes. And I could totally live without the scene featuring one of the hunters prancing around his decapitated prey and masturbating. OK, it showed the twisted psyche of the killer, but it was totally unnecessary and felt little more than a knock-off of Silence of the Lambs.

The Hunters, whilst it does have it faults, was an unexpected surprise that makes me wish we would see more direct to DVD horror movies that explore the killers psyche before unleashing the horror.

Where to Find It:

Originally released on DVD in the UK by Lionsgate way back in 2012, the film is still available to buy on Amazon on DVD and VOD.

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