Happy Hunting (2017)

One from the to watch pile…

Happy Hunting (2017)

Film: There is a great line from the movie High Fidelity that goes,’ Some people never get over the Vietnam War, or the night their band opened for Nirvana.‘… I think the same can be said for some filmmakers who have never gotten over Tarantino, and do their very best to emulate him (it could also be Robert Rodriguez, but for this example we shall use Tarantino).

You know the tics and tricks to them as well: The films almost always look hot and dry, the dialogue occasionally has nothing to do with moving the story along but it doesn’t have to be use the actions happening around them are doing that instead, everybody… and I mean EVERYBODY is shifty looking and there is an attempt to make every scene full to the brim with tension.

Sometimes these emulations work, but mostly they don’t as Tarantino and Rodriguez’s styles, though similar to each other, work due to their varied influences, and their own personalities.

This film was written and directed by the team of Joe Dietsch and Lucien Gibson, and whilst the style of the film might be Tarantino, the story and setting are a pastiche of H.G. Lewis’s 2,000 Maniacs and films like Turkey Shoot or The Most Dangerous Game.

Happy Hunting tells of alcoholic drug cook, Warren Novak (Mark Dingle Wall), who needs to get to Mexico and after trying to get some money from some dealers in a deal that full-tilt goes knees up, he finds himself in the small, dying town known as Bedford.

Now Bedford has a proud history. It was a town founded by the Bedford corporation, and was a destination point for hunters year-round as hunting season NEVER finishes, but unfortunately times changed and the once prosperous tourism destination has become a ghost town except for a very small population.

This tiny population, though, like to remember the good ol’ days and celebrate them by capturing transients, like our pal Warren, his pursuers from the drug cartel and anyone who no longer fits the clean self-image that the Sheriff of the town has and sends them into the desert, with a select few of the townspeople in hot pursuit, hunting them down.

Unfortunately for the townsfolk, Warren’s sense of self-preservation is quite intense and very soon, to coin an over-used term, the hunters become the hunted, although Warren’s not so great at the hunt, especially when his shakes and hallucinations caused by going cold turkey start to really kick in…

This is a decently shot and acted film, which, as I stated earlier, wears its influences on its sleeve, that has some really nice set-pieces and some nutty characters that are quite over the top but unfortunately, it’s just mediocre. It’s not bad, it just doesn’t have any memorable set pieces, and the ending is stolen directly from Night if the Living Dead… sorry, it’s obviously an homage, just like the beginning of 28 Days Later is stolen from The Day of the Triffids.

In short, if it crosses your path, give it a Watch, but don’t actively pursue it as there are better choices for this tripe of movie out there.

Score: ***

Format: The reviewed copy of Happy Hunting was the Australian Umbrella Entertainment release. It is presented in a clear and clean 2.35:1 image with a matching 5.1 audio track.

Score: ****

Extras: No menu, no extras, no nothing.

Score: 0

WISIA: Nah, I’ll probably watch Battle Royale, Condemned, Hunger Games or any of the other ‘men hunting men’ films again before digging this out of the pit of the one watch only.


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