Florida Film Festival: Climate of the Hunter (2019)

climateofthehunter

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Two sisters have no idea what’s in store when a childhood friend re-enters their lives in Mickey Reece’s latest horror opus.

After a twenty-year estrangement, sisters Alma and Elizabeth have reunited. They still harbor some ill feelings towards one another. Both have gone through personal issues and at this stage, they do attempt to bond once again. However, the idea is soon thrown out of the window with the arrival of childhood friend Wesley, who takes an instant liking to both sisters. However, Wesley himself finds himself going through a crisis as his wife has been taken to a mental hospital and his son Percy has a deep resentment towards him.

Despite his issues, Wesley decides to see which of the sisters he can find himself more attracted to. This causes a massive rift between the two, with Alma soon seeing strange visions. When Alma’s daughter Rose arrives, Alma’s visions grow deeper and deeper. She soon discovers and realizes that Wesley may not be who he once was. She is convinced he may be a vampire and plans to tell Elizabeth, who only reacts by calling her sister crazy as well as jealous. Will Alma be able to find a way to prove Wesley is a vampire or will it be too late for Elizabeth?

Oklahoma-based filmmaker Mickey Reece has been known for his interesting indie films, some of which gained him some acclaim. This entry to the Florida Film Festival is a 1970s-style horror opus piece that plays out as if we are watching a soap opera of sorts, as it involves relationships, familial bonds, and jealousy all wrapped up in one nifty package with a vampiric twist. In an even more interesting fashion, there are four chapters, all with have a Portuguese title to it.

Ginger Gilmartin and Mary Buss are great in the central roles of the two sisters, Alma and Elizabeth. Alma is the more neurotic sister as she has been divorced and has a daughter, Rose, played by Danielle Evon Ploeger. As for Elizabeth, she is the older blunt sister who will tell it like it is whether others care or not and thus, can’t seem to hold a relationship to a candle. Ben Hall brings this charm to the role of the mysterious Wesley, the childhood friend who brings that charisma back to the sisters’ lives and yet, is the reason why their once estranged rift only cuts deeper as it is he who is perhaps trying to find a new “mate” to replace his wife.

What is really intriguing is that aside from Alma’s very disturbing macabre visions that lead her to eventually believe that their one-time friend is now a vampire, there are a few signs that lead to the viewer thinking, this could be true. Enter Percy, Wesley’s son played by Sheridan McMichael. He shows resentment towards Wesley and he even tells Wesley at one point, “Mom is going to die. You’re going to live forever.” It is these little nuances that may lead you to believe it while Alma’s visions may also be triggered when she is smoking weed with another friend, BJ, played by Jacob Snovel. It is that little nuance that serves as a tease for what’s in store in the final 20 minutes of the film.

Climate of the Hunter may not seem like a complete horror film, but that’s the intention. It’s more of a soap opera-toned film with a horror tinge to it with some pretty good performances by the cast. The final 20 minutes may or may not be a shock, depending on how much you read into the first hour.

WFG RATING: B-

Dark Star Pictures presents a Divide/Conquer production in association with Betmar-Heiland Productions and Perm Machine Productions. Director: Mickey Reece. Producer: Jacob Snovel. Writers: Mickey Reece and John Selvidge. Cinematography: Samuel Calvin. Editing: Mickey Reece.

Cast: Ginger Gilmartin, Mary Buss, Ben Hall, Jacob Snovel, Sheridan McMichael, Danielle Evon Ploegel, Laurie Cummings.

If you are in the Orlando area, this film will play on August 15, 2020 at 9:00pm at the Enzian Theater (1300 South Orlando Avenue, Maitland FL 32751). For more information on this and other selections at the Florida Film Festival, go to https://www.floridafilmfestival.com/

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