HUNTER HUNTER **** Canada / USA 2020 Dir: Shawn Linden. 93 mins
A young family; husband, wife and thirteen year old daughter, are living off the grid and out in remote woods. It’s never quite explained why but husband Mersault (Devon Sawa) is the main reason. He’s a hunter and seems most at home in the woods. His wife (Camille Sullivan) is less keen and is finding things hard. Their daughter (Summer H. Howell) is caught up in her father’s world and is initially intrigued when they suspect a wolf has returned to stalk them. Traps are set and father and daughter head out to locate the beast. What they find is more than they bargained for, and it’s not just the wolf.
Knowing anymore would ruin what is a stark and often brutal thriller that was almost completely shot on location. Coming out at the end of a difficult 2020, ‘Hunter Hunter’ quickly picked up a lot of buzz and started to appear on year end best lists. It’s definitely a slow burn, with lots of menace and atmosphere. The characters are interesting, in not very relatable, but extremely well played. It is where this film ultimately goes that has gotten people talking and it is pretty uncompromising and graphic. That’s not to say this is wall to wall action and gore, far from it, but when it does choose to go there it does and not for entertainment. Despite being a North American production it has more of a European sensibility and is reminiscent of recent genre work from France.
Go in knowing as little as possible, and I have done my best to do that here, and enjoy (if that’s the correct term, decide afterwards!) a bleak but unique indie horror surprise.
Review by Ben Underwood