With Halloween just right around the corner, this is most definitely my favorite time of year boils and ghouls. Where all the movie theaters and television sets are taken over by scary movies. In September alone, there’s more than 10 horror flicks getting a theatrical release. That. Is. Amazing. What a wonderful time to be a horror fan! Since I am a tad superstitious, let’s keep my customary movie screening ritual going. Pop that popcorn, crack open that ice cold adult beverage and dim those lights! IT’S MOVIE TIME!
Happy Hunting (2017)
We follow a down and out of luck alcoholic drifter named Warren, played by Martin Dingle Wall (Strangerland). He receives a phone call telling him that one of his old flames has passed away, he also discovers she has mothered his child. Distraught, Warren pulls himself together and begins his trek to see the child he has never known, down in Mexico. Making a pit stop in the small town of Bedford Flats, he immediately notices things are not so normal in this town. Warren soon unknowingly becomes the target of a psychotic sporting event, where he must battle deranged hunters, the desert terrain and alcohol withdrawal. Can Warren survive this sadistic game of cat and mouse or will he succumb to his addiction?
Happy Hunting is the first full-length feature film written and directed by Joe Dietsch and Louie Gibson. The duo crafted a remarkably tense and thrilling adventure story, that brings the viewer along for the ride from scene one. Also serving as executive producers, film editors and principal cinematography, these two were very busy throughout the production. Behind the camera, Dietsch was able to canvas the desolate desert landscape, creating a bleak and hopeless backdrop to the horrific hunting expedition on screen. In their first film, Dietsch and Gibson were able to achieve what many filmmakers strive for their entire careers, to capture a good and believably thrilling story. I hope these two young directors continue to shine in the future.
This film boasted a group of mostly unheard of actors. All of whom had very solid performances. The most captivating performance goes to Martin Dingle Wall. His portrayal as Warren was hypnotically effective. He was able to play an unlikable asshole drunk and yet still convey sympathy in such a way that very few could. Making Warren the most unlikely of anti-heroes. I was very impressed by his performance. Alongside Dingle Wall, Ken Lally (Wolfenstein: The New Order, Puncture Wounds) portrayed Steve Patterson as the friendly, easy going and understanding Alcoholics Anonymous group leader.
Happy Hunting was a harrowing journey into the depths of depravity of mankind. From the moment the hunting games begin, the film shifted into sixth gear. Never letting off the gas. It reminded me of ‘The Most Dangerous Game’ on steroids. With tension raising throughout and culminating with a very fitting ending, Happy Hunting was quite a surprise for sure. There are lots to enjoy from this survival horror film. While there are some plot drags and some dodgy CGI effects, the negatives do not drag down the overall end product.
IMDb: 7.1/10 (58 reviews thus far)
Happy Hunting is out in select theaters TODAY!!!
Thanks for reading and if you don’t make it to the theaters for this one, it will be available on VOD as well!