The Horror Honeys: The Hunted: Chasing the dream...

The Hunted: Chasing the dream...

An Indie ManCrush March Review by Lisa
The Hunted (2014)

One word. Three syllables. 

riveting/adjective/completely engrossing, compelling

In what feels like a million years ago, but was actually 2007, I begrudgingly watched a show titled Dirt because I used to have an unhealthy obsession with trashy gossip magazines. Imagine my delight when Mr. Josh Stewart showed up as Holt McLaren. Hes got those bedroom eyes and a lovely, barely detectible southern drawl that is just my speed. Suffice to say, Mr. Stewart was put on my list of "Actors Who You Will Watch In Anything." If you love horror, odds are high that you have seen Stewart in The Collector and, hopefully, its sequel The Collection. Or perhaps you enjoyed his arc on Criminal Minds for eleven episodes. Trust me when I say that you know who Josh Stewart is even if you dont immediately recognize the name. Hopefully, his directorial debut, The Hunted will make him into more of a horror household name.


Written and directed by Stewart, The Hunted is a surprisingly effective, bare bones horror film. Its nearly impossible not to bring up The Blair Witch Project when speaking of this film, so lets get it out of the way. Yes, you will be watching the video footage of two men who went into the woods and found more than they bargained for, but this is something else entirely. Built on the premise that all you need to be famous in America is to star in your own reality show, Jake (Stewart) and his friend Stevie (Ronnie Gene Blevins) go way, way out into the woods of West-By-God-Virginia in search of Movie Star, the buck who has only been photographed and never taken down. Hoping to lock down their own hunting show, Jake and Stevie start out with high hopes only to find out that Movie Star may not be the only one in the woods who is being hunted.

Filmed in the found footage format with a, believe it or not, new spin on the same old, this is a well paced film with jump scares that actually work and even make sense in the context of the story. No cats jumping out of closets here; just some genuinely jump worthy moments that unfold organically within the film. Some may argue that it takes a wee bit too long for the real story to be told, but I found it to be just right. 

Despite this viewer not being keen on the idea of joining a hunting trip, Stewart plays a likable family man and the friendly banter between Jake and Stevie is easy to fall into. It is, indeed, possible to put aside any possible negative feelings towards the sport and enjoy the film. In fact, the notion that the hunters are being hunted felt like a bit of karma and I definitely delighted in a bit of schandenfreude. The reality show conceit makes all of the different camera angles completely realistic and not at all absurd. At no point do you start questioning the reality in which someone would be holding a camera if said reality is a reality show. This is helpful because it allows you to let nit picking of camera plausibility go and just watch these two men uncover a real life ghost story. One of these men believes in ghosts, one of them doesnt and this just adds to the different reactions and further establishes the realreactions of our two characters. 

Hailing from the Less Is More category of horror, The Hunted builds suspense at a solid pace and has some truly hair raising moments. With a music score that carefully builds the level of anxiety, it is a character in its own right without ever distracting from the action. As someone who 100% believes in ghosts and is terrified of the many mysteries that are hidden within the woods, I found this to be a truly frightening film.