OK. Everyone knows about The Blair Witch Project by now. We’re all impressed that this little independent film managed to bust out and generate enormous success. Every film student in the world is encouraged that a crude looking film can make history. So, can we all stop trying to imitate it now? The Hunt is nothing more than an obvious copy. In this case it’s a trio of deer hunters who are attempting to make a “how to” video on hunting deer with a bow. The film integrates their grainy footage with that of one of t…e members of the rescue operation. He, of course, is also documenting his search for the now missing hunters. Throw in an out of nowhere climax and you have the entire film in a nutshell. The film keeps everything that was annoying about The Blair Witch Project, but retains none of what made it original. It doesn’t take long to get really tired of the shaky grainy camera work that basically gives us nothing remotely suspenseful or entertaining. Before long, Atticus (Rusler), the group’s cameraman, plays the part of a poor man’s Mulder with no Scully for balance. I can’t imagine what is really motivating these two men to continue their romp in the woods with a 10 year old boy in tow. Whatever happens to them we tend to feel they deserve. The final reveal is a complete letdown. Not even the film’s creatures are original. Hell, they’re not even rendered competently.
The Hunt is presented in an extremely poor 1.78:1 widescreen format. The footage is often so grainy that an old silent 8mm would have looked better. Coupled with incredibly bad editing and camera stability, this film is actually painful to watch on good equipment. If you’ve got a cheap 7 inch set in your closet you might have a better experience with that. Detail is almost non-existent, which I guess comes in handy with the horrible f/x to close out the film. The worst video presentation on DVD I have seen hands down.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 audio is completely wasted here. Not only will you have almost nothing in ambient sounds, but even the dialogue sounds like it came out of a tin can. I suspect the foley department was housed in a 55 gallon steel drum. Perhaps not as bad as the video, this is still a rather poor effort all the same.
The Hunt Chronicles is a 20 minute feature that looks every bit as low budget as the film itself. Pretty much everyone involved with the film participates. I got such a laugh at how seriously these guys think they are making great cinema here. I loved hearing the actors explain why they took the part. Let’s face it. It’s not like Ridley Scott or Tim Burton are standing in line outside their apartment doors.
I’m not a celebrity, but I was honestly looking for Ashton Kutcher to come out from behind my monitor wall and tell me I was being Punk’d. I couldn’t accept that anything this bad would enjoy any kind of wide release. I used to think that Event Horizon or maybe Battlefield Earth might be the worst films I’ve ever seen. Not any more. When The Blair Witch Project hit the stage, camcorders were not the quality they are today. The bad footage added a sense of uncomfortable realism to the effort. Today even a cheap camcorder offers a far better picture than the “professional” model used on The Hunt. Now the bad shots aren’t realistic. They’re just bad. If you happen to be at your friendly neighborhood video store and find The Hunt on the shelf, “Keep walking”.
Special Features List
- The Hunt Chronicles Feature