Hunted Movie Review

Written by Shane D. Keene

Released by Image Entertainment | Premiered on Shudder

hunted poster large

Directed by Vincent Paronnaud
Written by Vincent Paronnaud and Lea Pernolett
2020, 97 minutes, Not Rated
Premiered on Shudder on January 14th, 2021

Lucie Debay as Eva
Arieh Worthalter as The Guy
Ciaran O’Brien as The Accomplice

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I’m sitting here thinking about this film, The Hunted, and wondering why for the love of all that’s evil are people not talking about it? I mean, I get that on the surface it looks like typical I Spit on Your Grave fare, with two men, Arieh Worthalter and Ciaran O’Brien, stalking her through the forest. But truly, that is the end of any similarity. What you actually get with this film is more of a modern re-imagining of Red Riding Hood, though even that doesn’t do it justice as far as descriptions go.

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I’m going to give you the only visual and synopsis you’ll get from me because the movie is made more enjoyable not knowing what you’re getting into. In a nutshell, Eve, portrayed to stunning effect by Lucie Debay, meets a man—Arieh Worthalter—in a bar and is lured into what she believes will be a romantic encounter. Queue vivid red coat in a bleak landscape, predator(s) on her trail, and commencement to a film that I found to be near perfect for what it is. Because it wasn’t what I expected, not at all.

I expected a gory, in-your-face exploitation money grab. Most of these films end up turning out that way, trying to rip off better, more accomplished movies. What I got was much more. The film is remarkably well written and directed, the story is outstanding, dark, well-plotted and paced, and the visuals are fucking dark, atmospheric, and sometimes breathtaking. But 60% of the success of this one I credit to Debay. As Eve, she brings sympathy, authenticity, and believability to the role and, thus, the story overall, which could easily have fallen on its face in the hands of lesser talents such as this amazing actor/director/writer combo. These folks are good.

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On the parts of the other two actors, they both brought the performances they needed to the roles, and their part was served well as a frequent escalation tool to boost the already clock-spring-tight suspense that rocks through this thing. They also serve to enhance Debay’s already stellar performance. So yeah, I recommend this one pretty damn highly. It’s riddled with darkness, breathtaking cinematography, and tension so high it buzzes like unfettered electricity. And when it comes to the end, there’s a... I don’t want to say, “twist,” but a defining moment that adds the bright red cherry on top and will leave you asking, “Who’s afraid of the big bad wolf?”

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Movie: 4.5 Star Rating Cover

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Shane D. Keene
Staff Reviewer
Shane Douglas Keene is a reviewer, columnist, and poet living in Portland, Oregon. He spends his spare time drinking scotch and/or beer, playing guitar, and thinking of ways to scare small children and puppies. He pays meticulous attention to beard maintenance, mostly because it freaks people out, and he writes about dark fiction and poetry in various places, including his blog at Shotgun Logic.
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