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Saturday, January 16, 2021

Review: Hunted

Director: Vincent Paronnaud

Screenplay: Vincent Paronnaud and Léa Pernollet

Year: 2021

Shudder ended the past year with an excellent number of great horror movies, some of them that got into our Top 10 Horror Movie of 2020 list and several others that were close to entering. It seems like this streaming service wants to start 2021 the same way it finished the previous year. “Hunted” is its first proposal, and it has started with the right foot. 

A woman and a man meet at a bar. What seems to be an instant attraction starts turning weirder and weirder because of the man’s suspicious behavior. Who looked like an interesting and attractive man ends up being a sadistic sexual predator, and the woman must run to save her life.

“Hunted” is a modern and crude take on the famous fairy tale Red Riding Hood. This time, the wolf doesn’t disguise as the grandma and instead does son as an innocent sheep, referencing the famous saying. Instead of an innocent sheep, the wolf’s analogous in this story is a predator, in the worst meaning of the word.

Besides the natural discomfort that movies with sexual predators’ topics generate, the director Vincent Paronnaud (“Asylum: Twisted Horror and Fantasy Tales”) excels in maintaining this feeling alive without showing anything sexually explicit. The job of the protagonist duo is also excellent, with an outstanding Arieh Worthalter (“Girl”) in his dual role as a likable and seductive man, at well as a sadistic predator and a great Lucie Debay in her role as a victim that doesn’t stop fighting for her survival and who turns out to be as dangerous as the predator. Both characters suffer from a constant physical deterioration in every encounter they have, and both, along with the secondary actors, pass on every painful moment with crude realism. 

Speaking about pain, the practical effects are one of its strongest arguments. What Paronnaud reserves in sexual explicitness, he unleashes in gore, guaranteeing waves of pain in every scene in which he uses it. Broken noses, open wounds, and countless other physical damages are shown with the confidence of someone who knows has talent in this field and wants to showcase it. And all of this goes without mentioning how sadistic the predator can get, which I will refrain from to avoid spoiling some surprising moments. 

“Hunted” takes the Red Riding Hood tale and gives it a modern and extremely crude twist, where a fierce predator seeks to harm a woman. The acting and the gore along the intense and fast-paced plot maintain the intrigue, although I must mention that the script’s quality drastically drops during the third act. Still, it is an entertaining watch.

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