The Hunted (2014) [DVD]
Director: Josh Stewart
Cast: Josh Stewart, Skipp Sudduth, Katherine Von Till
Release Date: Now Available on DVD & VOD
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 8.5/10
Disc Rating: 8/10
Chasing their dream of landing their own hunting show, two hunters head into the dense, secluded mountains of West Virginia only to realize they are not alone.
‘The Hunted’ tells the story of Jake and Stevie, Jake’s dream is to get his own hunting show, and he’s convinced his friend Stevie who used to be a news cameraman to join him and document just the opportunity he’s been looking for. They’ve been given the chance to film a hunt in a wide open area in West Virginia that a friend has just acquired the rights to, therefore has never before been hunted on, providing the perfect opportunity for Jake to film hunting and killing a buck big enough to get his show off the ground.
After capturing a photo of a huge buck never seen in person dubbed the ‘movie star’ they go off in search of it. Soon they begin to hear strange noises sounding like a bobcat or even a woman. Strange occurrences begin to follow, like that of a lost knife randomly appearing in a tree. As they continue on their hunt for this prized buck, things become more terrifying and it becomes questionable if what they are hunting is really what they believe it to be. Not to mention it just may be hunting them in return.
Josh Stewart is an actor I’ve been a fan of for awhile now. I’m especially fond of his role of Arkin in ‘The Collector’ and its sequel ‘The Collection’ and I always enjoy seeing him in anything I’m watching. This time around Josh Stewart takes his first shot behind the camera with ‘The Hunted’ serving as writer, director and producer on top of also portraying the lead role. Stewart does a tremendous job handling all of these responsibilities and both his performance and Skipp Sudduth’s (the two pretty much carry the entire film) are solid and contribute a lot to this wonderfully eerie little film.
‘The Hunted’ is a terrifying little tale that had me on edge more than most horror films do. While the trend of found footage is starting to get awfully tired, it’s wonderful to at least see some filmmakers taking things back to the basics ala ‘The Blair Witch Project’ with some truly creepy and at times nearly unbearably intense situations, not to mention an actual reason for having these cameras constantly present and rolling. ‘The Hunted’ definitely joins the recent, phenomenal ‘Willow Creek’ as one of these rare exceptions and a wonderful breath of fresh air in the found footage genre. In short, I would highly recommend it, especially for those that appreciate such movies and I hope Josh Stewart continues to try his hand behind the camera in addition to in front of it. I’m certainly curious to see what he might bring us next.
The DVD release of ‘The Hunted’ is presented in a 16×9 friendly Widescreen presentation utilizing the film’s original 1.78:1 Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks pretty great for a DVD and adequately represents the found footage aspect of the film, providing a more realistic sense of what this footage might actually look like in reality. There are never any issues seeing what is happening, even the numerous sequences occurring at night are easily discernible and look about as good it gets for DVD releases of this type of film.
The DVD release features a lossy 5.1 channel Dolby Digital soundtrack. The multichannel soundtrack is probably the highlight of the release and it sounds surprisingly fantastic, adding a great deal to the overall feel of the movie, perfectly throwing a scream into any of the provided five channels without any notice, going from silent to full pitch and back quite smoothly. I’ll admit it certainly got me to jump a couple of times and even with the other activity, the dialogue is always clearly audible. As far as lossy multichannel soundtracks go, this one is top notch.
While the DVD release of ‘The Hunted’ may not be chock full of extra goodies, it does include a couple of nice bonus features. Included on the release is an Audio Commentary track with Writer/Director/Actor Josh Stewart and the film’s producers. Also included is ‘The Ghost’ Featurette which explores the real events in which the film was based on and includes interviews with Josh Stewart.
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