Two hunters being stalked by a ghost in a forest isn’t exactly the most original or unique Found Footage plot idea. The Hunted is a 2013 release that has so far been hammered by a majority of online film reviewers…
Is it really that bad?
Clean But Not Unique
I’ll have to say I don’t really agree with most of the reviews this film has received from horror sites so far.
Whilst it certainly lacks any sort of originality, the filmmaking standards were pretty clean and impressive. The film is the brainchild of Josh Stewart who writes, directs and takes on the lead role of Jake.
It didn’t offer anything groundbreaking but it did offer a decent enough helping of Found Footage horror.
The Hunted follows two friends that travel into the woods to film a hunting show – an experienced hunter Jake ( Josh Stewart ) and his cameraman companion Stevie ( played by Ronnie Gene Blevins ).
They manage to book three whole days of hunting time in an area of forest where a rather famous stag resides. Their idea is to finally hunt down and capture the creature and film the whole process for a 22 minute TV hunting episode.
They embark on the hunt with all your typical Found Footage ‘bells and whistles’…
- Action cams strapped to their heads
- Night vision options
- Stationary ‘movement tracking’ cameras
- Your typical handheld options
They are all set up to film the ultimate hunting episode and finally hit the big time…
But this forest seems to be home to something a lot more sinister than a legendary stag…
Slow, Slow, Slow
I can see why so many reviewers were pissed with this film due to the incredibly slow build over the first 30 mins or so. The two lead characters are fine and interact well together but they have very little to talk about really.
There didn’t seem to be that much character development over the initial stages of the film – it just seems to center a little to much on the hunting show they are trying to create.
As a result there was very little tension built in the initial stages and I found it a little difficult to concentrate on the conversations – it wasn’t exactly gripping!
Stalked by a Ghost
The film starts to pick up when the two amateur filmmakers hear rather freaky screams through the forest at night.
Jake thinks they are nothing more than the calling card of a forest bobcat but Stevie is convinced they are the screams of a female in distress.
The second night comes and the screaming returns as the two men re-affix their camera selection to the trees. This time Jake begins to take a little more notice of the female shrieks as there is no mistaking their human quality.
When the two men return to their hunting lodge they dig a little deeper and discover a female worker who has a tale to tell about these dark woods.
She explains that the forest is thought to be haunted by a female ghost who walks back and forth along the trail, screaming.
This woman was abused violently by her drunk husband, provoking her to lock him up in the house and burn the place down in his sleep. When the locals turned up to rescue the husband from the burning house she quickly shot him before eating the barrel of the gun herself.
The screams are the main ‘fright fest’ the film has to offer and work pretty well throughout. There’s no real need for expensive CGI as the film never promises to show us anything of the female spirit – much like The Blair Witch Project.
The film had it’s fair share of flaws and seemed more than a little ‘dull’ in places but it was unnerving.
The two main actors seemed to have nothing really worthwhile to discuss during the first 30 minutes or so and this fact will put a few viewers off. I felt Josh Stewart was trying his hardest to make the film reach the 90 minute mark when he really didn’t need to.
The build is incredibly slow in places but the last quarter of the film is pure Found Footage horror.
It’s not really the most unique of ideas but it does work on some levels – it offers a disturbing enough atmosphere that seems to capture the imagination.
I can see why so many fellow reviewers disliked the film but I don’t think they really gave it a chance – if you look past the dour start to the film it’s actually not that bad.
If you enjoy Found Footage horror you may well find something you like in this effort – not great but worth a watch!