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Hunters, The

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    Ian Jane
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  • Hunters, The



    Released by: Lionsgate
    Released on: December 27, 2011.
    Director: Chris Briant
    Cast: Steve Waddington, Tony Becker, Dianna Argon
    Year: 2011
    Purchase From Amazon

    The Movie:

    The 2011 directorial debut of Chris Briant (who also stars and co-wrote the script), The Hunters follows the story of a young woman named Alice (the lovely Dianna Argon) who becomes involved with a police officer named LeSaint. Alongside her story, we learn of group of five friends who head out into the woods to hang out a bit before they all go their separate ways and head off to their daily grind. These woods, however, have always been sort of a forbidden zone to the local population as people tend to go in there to creep around and never seem to come back.

    This doesn't stop these guys, though - they want some adventure in their lives and so they head in determined to find what they can find. So what do they find? Well, there's a compound of sorts out there nestled amongst the trees and underbrush, which, when they find it, they opt to explore. Once inside, they realize that this place is littered with blood spatter and the rotting severed remains, presumably belonging to some of those aforementioned people who went into the woods never to return. They soon realize that the hunters who use this compound as their own personal torture chamber are wise to their discovery, which means that they too will soon join the ranks of the dead if they don't figure out how to beat these killers at their own game.

    Briant's film starts off fairly slowly with some character development bits that initially don't seem to be going anywhere but which do eventually start to pay off. By giving us characters with a bit of a back story we tend to care more about what's going to happen to them, and so once the group finds the building in the woods and realize that it's all about to hit the fan, the film succeeds in delivering some pretty solid tension and suspense. A large part of what makes this movie work is the location chosen - the abandoned complex out in the woods of France is the perfect place to set a movie like this and the crew for this film picked the right place to serve as their backdrop. The complex is dank, dark and dreary and it lends itself well to the story and provides some appropriately macabre ambience.

    As far as the performances go, all involved do a pretty decent job here. Some of the characters get more to do than others and a few wind up being little more than fodder for the hunters but Argon is good as Alice. She's not only very easy on the eyes but manages to convince us in her role here - we believe her as her character and she proves to have been a good casting choice here. The film is also very nicely shot, making great use of the shadows that the thick woods provide and using a lot of interesting angles to put us in the middle of the action without having to resort to hyperactive editing tactics or an abundance of shaky-cam style photography. The film doesn't really turn into a traditional horror movie until the last half hour or so and when it does, as violent as it gets it isn't a gore fest but the makeup effects that are required turned out well. If this isn't a film that reinvents the wheel it's still a decent thriller with plenty of suspense and some great location work.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    The Hunters looks good in this 1.85.1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. Detail is sharp, colors are nice looking though in spots are tinted just a little bit blue for some sort of artistic intent, and skin tones look natural. Black levels are strong and though there are some minor problems with compression artifacts or with print damage or dirt. This is a well authored presentation of some clean source material.

    The only audio option is a solid English language Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound mix, though optional subtitles are provided in both English and in Spanish. Not the most aggressive track you're ever going to hear, this mix does add some nice ambient noise to the background from time to time and provides clear dialogue and well balanced effects and music.

    Extras are limited to a trailer for the feature, trailers for a few other Lionsgate properties and a featurette called In The Mud: Making The Hunters (17:14), which takes us behind the scenes of the production and provides some reasonably informative cast and crew interviews. Animated menus and chapter stops are also included.

    The Final Word:

    It's slow to start but once The Hunters does pick up the pace, it turns out to be a pretty decent thriller with some interesting characters and slick direction. Lionsgate's DVD looks good, sounds good, and has a decent bonus featurette for the behind the scenes junkies out there.























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