Nightstream Review: Hunted (2020)

  • Director: Vincent Paronnaud
  • Writer: Vincent Paronnaud,  Léa Pernollet
  • Stars:  Christian Bronchart, Lucie Debay, Ciaran O’Brien

Review

At this point in horror, a movie about a woman being hunted down in the woods is so well worn that the forest service is going to have to come in and shut down these woods because they have been loved to death by humans. Add to this trope a fable about the forest being a defender of the innocent and a main character named Eve who wears a red jacket with a hood and we’ve got it all: biblical references, witch references, morbid fairy tales and men treating women like animals. Absolutely nothing new here.

While it’s true that you may think you know the story and have seen it done before, you haven’t seen it done like this. Director Vincent Paronnaud turns out a movie that has an understanding of the world women inhabit. Eve (Lucie Debay) is on a work trip and instead of her boss trusting that she can get her job done, he suggests that a male coworker can help her. In an effort to let off some steam, she goes to a club and meets an American whom she hits it off with and things, of course, take a turn for the worse.

Ultimately, Eve and her red hooded jacket will be running for her life in the forest while the American (The Foreman) and his accomplice treat her in the same fashion they would treat an animal that they are hunting down. In fact, the accomplice seems to be employing The Foreman to facilitate this entire thing. It’s all a bit reminiscent of Hostel 2 with the idea of people being supplied for others in a way to quell their homicidal urges. As the three of these people face off, it will become apparent who is really suited to hunt another human and who has some very seriously deep rooted issues.

Christian Bronchart plays The Foreman and he is a standout. He expertly walks the line of charismatic and psychotic. When he and Eve have their ultimate showdown, he utters a line that seems to sum up his entire existence and reasoning behind hunting women and it’s chilling. Not to be outdone, Debay inhabits her role in such a natural way that you never find yourself questioning if she is capable of the survival that she is pulling off. During the ultimate battle, she is feral, complete with war paint on her face, and she is not someone to be trifled with.

There are so many things that, on paper, would make Hunted seem derivative and uninspired, but it is anything but. Hunted is gorgeous, smart, fresh and has a few WTF moments that really work within such a streamlined setting and story. Pair all of this with a score that keeps up and sets the tone expertly and you have yourself a truly fun game of cat and mouse.

Lisa Fremont

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