THE HUNTING (2021) Reviews and overview of werewolf movie

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‘Hunger runs deep’
The Hunting is a 2021 American horror film about the citizens of a small town terrorised by a mysterious animal.

Directed by Mark Andrew Hamer – visual effects supervisor for I See You and making his feature directorial debut here – from a screenplay co-written with Heather Ryan, based on a story by Terrance Ryan.

The Moonphase Media production stars Peyton Hillis, Joelle Westwood, Joaquin Guerrero and Keith Migra.

The synth soundtrack score was composed by Richard Maurer (The Enormity of Life).

Plot:
When a mysterious animal attack leaves a man’s mutilated body in the forest, a conservative small-town detective must enlist the help of an eager wildlife specialist to uncover the dark and disturbing truth that threatens the town…

Our review:
Despite obvious callbacks to past wolfman movies via Talbot’s Wolf Sanctuary, The Hunting is initially more concerned with PTSD flashbacks and a plodding police investigation rather than lycanthropy (it’s 47 minutes before “werewolves” are even mentioned and over an hour before we see a furry fiend, although at least it’s a costume and not CGI). Not a strong start or even middle, then.

It’s decently filmed and edited and the proceedings are accompanied by an agreeable if somewhat overused synth score by Richard Maurer. Former NFL player Peyton Hillis is competent in his lead role but is, unfortunately, the weakest thesp here. The somewhat predictable plot ‘twist’ is more of a cheat really.

Although it’s undoubtedly a more professional production than many schlocky low-budget efforts, The Hunting is too sombre and lacking in horror to be effective as a genre offering.  Curiously, the film’s subtext is about flag-waving and war veteran “heroes” which means that selling it as a werewolf movie is something of a con.

Adrian J Smith, MOVIES and MANIA

Other reviews:
The Hunting doesn’t have a big budget and it doesn’t try to bite off more than it can chew, rather than rely on a CGI creature that just wouldn’t look right, The Hunting opts more for a half-man/ half-wolf creature which works entirely effectively in the stories narrative and makes for a more believable wolf-esque story.” Action Reloaded

“The poster lied when it showcased a huge werewolf as if there were a lot of horrible things to showcase. Rather, the movie is a drama about trauma, guilt and how to overcome these issues. The characters are terribly boring and the acting is below average. The cinematography isn’t half bad but it doesn’t make up for the mind-numbing boredom that you are subjected to for 93 minutes. 1.5/5 Leisure Byte

” …if you want to make a movie about PTSD don’t sell it as a werewolf film with a giant snarling creature on the poster. You’ll only alienate much of your intended audience who came to see a horror film, not a drama. The Hunting does manage to keep things moving and avoids bogging down too badly despite the heavy subplot and the fact we don’t see the hairy guy between the opening and the hour mark.” Voices from the Balcony

Release date:
The Hunting was picked up for distribution by genre specialists Black Mandala and received a limited US release on January 21st 2022.

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Cast and characters:
Peyton Hillis … Matt / Connor
Joelle Westwood … Maggie ‘Mags’ Talbot
Joaquin Guerrero … Todd
Keith Migra … Dave
Angela Cole … Sarah Simmons
Alan Tuskes … Frank
Heidi Azaro … Doctor Keely
Billy Grimm … Police Dispatcher
Daniel Repas … Chief Galligan
Matt Tifft … Bobby Simmons
Merrick Wolstein … Jeremy
Ron Marnich … Larry Talbot
Paige Neuenschwander … Amanda
Ryan Krispinsky … Skee

Filming locations:
Mantua, Ohio

Technical details:
1 hour 31 minutes
Aspect ratio: 2.00:1

Trailer:

MOVIES and MANIA rating:

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