Cabin-in-the-woods horror movies are a dime a dozen, with most following a typically familiar plot, so it was a pleasant surprise to come across one that brought something really unique to this particular sub-genre. Rather than your typical movie about a group of teens heading off to a lake house for the summer, Shawn Linden’s latest shocker, ‘Hunter Hunter’ tells the tale of a family that’s made the conscious decision to settle down out in the wilderness to try and make a decent life for themselves, regardless of what the wild might throw at them.
Starring Camille Sullivan, Summer H. Howell, Devon Sawa and Nick Stahl, ‘Hunter Hunter’ begins with a rogue wolf returning to a remote part of the woods where a fur trapper (Sawa) and his wife (Sullivan) and daughter (Howell) live. As the patriarch of the family takes it upon himself to head off to hunt the beast to protect his family, the mother and daughter are left to fend for themselves in fear of the knowledge that the furtive predator could disrupt their peaceful existence at any moment.
Avoiding all the typical trappings of cabin or creature in the woods movies, Linden dissects this seemingly closely-knit family unit that’s struggling to make ends meet and pushing various elephants in the room under the carpet with well-intentioned white lies and deceit. At the same time, it represents a coming-of-age story for the mother as long-dormant instincts surface when she’s forced to hold the fort whilst her husband is away. To explain anything else would do the film a disservice so suffice it to say that you’re in for a gripping -albeit grim and gruesome- treat which features not only the best female performance in a horror film this year, but also by far the most unexpected and shocking climax this writer has seen in film in a very long time.
IN THEATERS, ON DEMAND AND DIGITAL: December 18, 2020
Words: Howard Gorman