... to make it all the more memorable
Hunted is a Shudder original story about a girl who meets a man in a club who then begins stalking her. The film all takes place within 2 to 3 days of when the story is told. This film was a great psychological thriller. I loved the pace, the writing, and the direction Vincent Paronnaud used to not just create this psychological thriller, but also to add in "Little Red Riding Hood" elements to make it all the more memorable.
Vincent Paronnaud is a French filmmaker with a good few films under his belt. Hunted is his third feature length film. I am unfamiliar with Paronnaud’s previous work, but after Hunted I believe I may have to take a look. The film has a very clear tone and style that carries throughout the film from the bar, to the woods, to the house for rent at the end. The tone carried all throughout, which is why I was sitting on the edge of my seat the entire time. Just be prepared, as this film will likely make you uncomfortable.
The plot was very basic and straightforward. Eve runs into the wolf at a nightclub, where he convinces her he’s a stand up guy. She agrees to go home with him, but when things get sketchy and a second guy shows up she leaves. However, they continue to stalk her the rest of the night. It eventually turns into a game of cat and mouse throughout the woods; it’s very solid storytelling. Despite the fact that a lot of it takes place in the woods, I wasn’t bored or finding myself wondering ‘when will this end.’ I was enthralled and deeply invested in making sure this girl made it out alive.
ACTING | CHARACTERS | DIALOGUE:
The acting was phenomenal here. Lucie Debay shone as Eve, really presenting a woman that I believe is terrified and scared. It is hard to pull off a strong female lead who is being stalked and tormented throughout the film by two men. But Lucie Debay did it well enough that I plan on actively looking for more work she has done. Christian Bronchart made me feel uneasy and had me literally changing the way I was sitting because his performance made me so uncomfortable. He did a wonderful job playing the ‘bad wolf’ (as to follow their fairy tale). He also had an accomplice who was supposed to help him, Ciaran O’Brien. He did a great job bringing a little more cowardice and making Christian appear all the more terrifying.
VISUAL EFFECTS | MAKEUP | DESIGN:
There’s quite a few violent and graphic deaths, and I fully believed they happened. The one that stands out to me is midway throughout the film and includes an arrow and some soup. I spent days after the film trying to figure out how they filmed that. There were some top tier effects because I couldn’t tell what was actually done and what was done post in special effects. 10/10.
MUSIC | SCORE | SOUND DESIGN:
There’s not a lot to touch on here, as this story is visual heavy and focuses more on what we are watching rather than what we are hearing. I do think some opportunity was missed here; there’s a lot to work with considering how much Eve went through from start to finish. Speaking as a female who has been in situations with predatory men, they could have represented her reaction, claustrophobia, and feelings of inability to escape through the sound design. Now, with this being said, I didn’t have any negative feelings towards the sound design, just found it to be very basic.
Overall, I don’t think I’ve been so overwhelmed by a film in a while. I was consistently debating turning it off in my head because I felt so anxious watching this female be stalked. This film did exactly what it set out to do; it made the viewer uneasy but also feel triumphant and released by the end of the film whether it be the outcome we wanted/expected or not. Vincent Paronnaud made a film that will make you uncomfortable and probably even scare you a little bit. In my mind, a film that can permeate the screen into your own psyche is winning. I will be looking for more from Vincent in the future.
HUNTED premieres on Shudder January 14th in the U.S., Canada, U.K., Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand