April 30, 2005

Season of the Hunted (2003)

"Five regular guys from Long Island, NY head out on a boys weekend to upstate New York for a weekend of bow hunting. Steve, a New York fireman (post 9/11), organizes the trip for a much needed R & R. It turns sour when their hosts turn out to be a cult group of cannibal hunters. After realizing our boys ARE the hunted, Steve survives the struggle of his life and returns home to Long Island safely to his pregnant wife with the help of his friend Frank. Frank calls on his black-ops Vietnam training, while struggling with his own issues, to get them out alive."

I think this is a definite contender for worst horror movie ever. It wasn't a bad idea (though more than a bit reminiscent of "The Most Dangerous Game" and "Deliverance" and all those other "city guys meet backwoods guys" movies) but the execution of just about every aspect of this film was extremely poor.

For a start, the music used throughout sounds like it came of a compilation album of "incidental music" for a different movie entirely. Every piece of incidental music is different and completely inappropriate for the scene in hand. It's like the sound editor just randomised the aforementioned "incidental music" CD and just used whatever came up from rock to electro pop.

The next big annoyance is the camerawork. Obviously the budget didn't stretch to more than one camera so scenes are pretty much full on ("look straight into the centre of the screen for the action") stagey set pieces all joined together. There were more than a couple of moments where some cuts to close-up from a different angle may have moved things on a little bit faster. But, as this appears to be the first film for Ron Sperling (no, not Rod Sterling), maybe this director (and whoever held the camera!) will learn from his mistakes.

And that's the end of my generosity. The acting sucked... and I mean really sucked... and I'm not just talking about the cannibal woman's blowjob scene early on which you don't even get to see! There is hardly any attempt at reacting to each other and so there is no chemistry between this supposed bunch of friends whatsoever. The question of their friendship really puzzled me because apart from their love of really lame jokes they don't seem to have a single thing in common.

The pacing of the whole thing is extremely slow. It takes about 25 minutes before they even head out in the woods and, once there, things just drag on and on. There are a few corn-syruppy kills and some amusing arrow through the body scenes which reminded me of those joke "nail through the finger" things that you could buy in novelty shops years ago. In the worst case, one guy gets shot through the leg and the arrow is so obviously just through his trousers. Look, I'm not asking for the actors to actually shoot each other with arrows or anything (ok, maybe I am) but didn't anyone check to see how this would look on camera before filming it?

The gore scenes are nicely done though but they are all over too fast. You don't even see the really annoying character (yes, there is one that stands out more than the rest) get gutted, only a still frame of the aftermath later on. That's how bad things are. The wounded characters really aren't convincing either. They all start bleeding from the mouth no matter where they get shot. Getting an arrow through you really hurts too, you know, and you don't just groan when they are pulled out (which you should never do... just in case it happens to you... unless you want to suffer a lot of internal bleeding and die!). A lot more screaming and swearing would have been more realistic. One scene of note was when the lead hunter guy is arrowed and starts to say, "I........I......." and I just had to say to the telly (between the pregnant pauses), "I... can't... act!".

There is no tension and there are no scares. There is only some brief sexy stuff at the very start and it's all just very, very crap too. And what's with all the references to 'Nam? There isn't even an actor old enough in it to have been in the Vietnam war!!! Those flashback scenes are hardly "Platoon" quality either.

I think I can only give this 1 out of 10. It needs serious recutting as it all feels about ten times longer than it should be. The cannibal woman has a nice belly though.

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