MVD Visual // 2010 // 74 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Appellate Judge Daryl Loomis // August 10th, 2012
Run if you can.
Richard Connell's short story The Most Dangerous Game has been told and retold in plenty of feature films, almost from the point of its publication. We don't really need another one, but I love the story and am always happy to watch people hunt each other under most any circumstance. Here we have The Hunt, a French action-thriller that puts a little twist on the tale and makes for an entertaining time.
Alex (Jellali Mouina) is a young tabloid journalist under the gun for a real sensational story. His girlfriend (Sarah Lucide), a dominatrix, hangs around with some pretty shady characters, so Alex goes to her for a tip. She tells him of a rich and powerful client who attends some pretty strange meetings at an estate in the woods. Alex knows a scoop when he hears one, so digs a little deeper and, finally, finds himself out at the mansion. This isn't some kind of meeting of the Moose lodge, these guys run a high stakes hunt where the game is man and the prize is a box full of cash. Impersonating one of the hunters, he tries to infiltrate the group, but quickly finds that he is the prey.
I haven't seen director Thomas Szczepanski's Ossessione, but The Hunt gets me intrigued about what else is up his sleeve. He doesn't try to reinvent the story, just give it a fresh twist in a short time, only 74 minutes, to deliver a solid piece of action horror. On all those counts, he succeeds. The short running time hearkens back to the original 1932 film version of The Most Dangerous Game, which is still one of my favorite action movies and runs even shorter. The story's origins make it almost immediately recognizable, meaning he didn't have to get too deeply into back stories or side plots; he just delivers the goods.
The scenario is enough of a blank slate that one can put any number of twists on it and still keep it structurally intact, and Szczepanski does just fine with his interpretation. The infiltration angle here is somewhat fresh and making a game out of it involving multiple hunters gives it a little broader of a potential body count than the original story provides. The action is well directed and there's a good amount of violence, much of it fairly graphic for the obviously low budget. Ultimately, The Hunt is a satisfying piece of action with plenty of suspense and a bit of creep factor thrown in that I can totally recommend.
The DVD for The Hunt comes to us from MVD in a bare-bones, but technically sound edition. The standard definition 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer is decent for a small feature like this. It has the digitally enhanced, color-corrected look that a lot of independents sport these days, and while it isn't a terribly filmic look, it does look crisp and clean, with good black levels and color tone. The Dolby 5.1 Surround mix isn't terribly dynamic, but the rear effects and low end get a little bit of a workout during the action scenes. There are no extras.
The Hunt is a small movie that doesn't try to do too much, and that's probably its biggest recommendable point. Szczepanski doesn't try to alter the original story very much and, where he does change things, it makes sense in a modern action context. It's not particularly scary for a horror film, but it balances the horror and action very well and, at a mere 74 minutes, there's no reason not to give it a shot.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: MVD Visual
* 2.35:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (French)
Running Time: 74 Minutes
Release Year: 2010
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* View the Trailer