Hunter Hunter (2020)

A hunter’s family become both the hunter and hunted themselves in this slow-burn thriller that jumps at you in the final act.

Joseph Mersault and his family live in the wilderness where he makes a living as a fur trapper. However, as of late, Joseph has been noticing his traps have been sabotaged. He thinks it may be the haniwork of a rogue wolf. When Joseph decides to hunt down the wolf in hopes to stop the menacing beast, he leaves his wife Anna and Renee behind. However, it is not without saying Joseph has passed his skills down to Renee, who is set to follow in her father’s footsteps despite Anna’s worried nature.

While Joseph is gone for a lengthy period of time, it begins to take its toll on Anna and Renee. One day, they hear a noise outside their cabin. Thinking it’s Joseph, Anna discovers a seriously injured man named Lou. She and Renee nurse Lou back to health and for a while, things seem okay. However, as Lou stays longer and Joseph is still away, things slowly begin to unravel. Anna and Renee soon learn Lou’s real intentions and they go from being the hunters to the hunted. Will they be able to withstand and turn the tables on Lou before it’s too late?

This thriller from writer-director Shawn Linden makes its intention known. It starts as a slow burn thriller full of anticipation and trepidation. Then when the third act starts, it jumps in your face and provides some shocking moments guaranteed to make you cringe with all your might.

Devon Sawa is great as the patriarch Joseph, who is determined to find out who or what is responsible for the sabotaging of his traps, in which he earns his living as a fur trapper. What’s interesting here is the family dynamic where once Joseph leaves, the weight of the film is carried by Anna and Renee, played respectively by Camille Sullivan and Summer H. Howell. Joseph sees Renee as the one who can help keep the family business going and has trained her in his skills. Despite Anna’s reluctance on a few levels, Renee is the determined daughter who will keep hers and Anna’s sanity intact in this trying time.

And seriously, is Nick Stahl the go to guy to play sadistic villains. The former child star has made his way to play nefarious “villain” roles like the ones in Bully and the more recent The Murder of Nicole Brown Simpson. Like his character in the latter, he comes off first as a sweet natured guy who is seriously injured and is nursed back to health by Anna and Renee. However, the third act is where things get very insane and we see Lou’s true nature and we see one of the cringeworthy finales that takes a page of some great horror classics to say the least. It is absolutely jaw-dropping to see.

Hunter Hunter starts out with a bit of a slow burn, but it then unleashes a shocking final act that horror fans are sure to be proud of. An overall very tense thriller with a horror edge to it…literally.

WFG RATING: A-

IFC Midnight presents a MarVista Entertainment production in association with Julijette and Particular Crowd. Director: Shawn Linden. Producers: Shawn Linden, Neil Elman, and Juliette Hagopian. Writer: Shawn Linden. Cinematography: Greg Nicod. Editing: John Gurdebeke and Chad Tremblay.

Cast: Camille Sullivan, Summer H. Howell, Devon Sawa, Nick Stahl, Gabriel Daniels, Lauren Cochrane, Jade Michael, Erik Athavale.

The film will be released in select theaters, On Demand, and Digital on December 18.

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