Written by Diane Tillis
October is my favorite month for several reasons. First, my birthday is only a month away…hint hint. Second, the cooler weather characteristic of fall finally reaches Florida, even if it only lasts a weekend. And finally, it is the month for horror films!! Finding a truly amazing (scream till I am white in the face, can’t sleep for fear of the boogie monster) horror film is something I love to do every October. I will collect some of the historic foreign horror films, throw in a little Hitchcock with a dash of Supernatural episodes, and put on my own horror festival. Thus when I had the opportunity to review a few screeners from the Fangoria Frightfest, I was tickled Bloody Mary red!
Hunger opens in total darkness. The only sounds you hear are the screams of unidentified victims begging for help. (“Please, help me!” No, I would rather watch you suffer and enjoy the thrill!) As the light begins to illuminate the faces of five strangers, they discover they are trapped in an underground dungeon. While they learn each other’s names, how they all arrived at this unknown place, and what they have in common, the audience meets the man behind the kidnappings. A sadistic scientist has gathered his subjects for an experiment they will never forget. The human body can survive without food for 30 days, but given certain conditions and variables, what would it take a starving human to become a cannibal? This is what Hunger attempts to discover.
A wall of photographs and maps outline the scientist’s plan. He monitors the participants through night-vision cameras. He writes down his observations as the days pass from day one to day thirty. It is more than just another experiment for him – he derives pleasure from watching his victims suffer.
As the participants begin to feel the effects of starvation, their primal instincts begin to emerge, and their need for food drives their actions. Each participant has a role to play in the experiment. Jordon is the intelligent and confident former heart surgeon who killed a patient during surgery. Grant was a construction worker who killed his wife suffering from cancer. Anna is the manipulative sex object who murdered her boyfriend. Alex is the out of control alpha male who says he was falsely accused of murder. Luke is the control participant; he has nothing in common with the others except that he is a loner. Jordon and Grant use their career related skills to try to escape the dungeon. When their efforts fail, Anna manipulates Alex and Luke to help her survive.
Hunger is more of a psychological thriller with horror tendencies. The premise of the film sounds promising, but the outcome can be seen coming a mile away. People die and become food for the others. There was a moment of a possible rescue that ends with the rescuers trapped in their car under water. Of course there is the obligatory sex scene too…dirty! The film has a happy ending… wait, isn’t this a horror film?! The bad scientist takes a dirt nap. One survivor manages to escape the dungeon even after thirty days of starvation! The sun shines and it is a new day… THE END!
Hunger is pretty average for the majority of horror films that are put out into production these days. It has the potential to be truly frightening, but it just doesn’t quite get there.