Wade Whitehouse is a sheriff of a small New Hampshire town who achieved nothing in life in the opinion of his ex-wife Lillian and daughter Jill and is a heavy drinker. His girlfriend Margie accepts him the way he is. On the first day of the hunting season, Wade's friend Jack takes a wealthy businessman to hunt - and only Jack returns alive. Wade decides to play detective and starts investigating the case despite the fact Jack insists it was an accidental self-inflicted shot. Written by
When hunting, besides making enough noise to scare off deer for miles around, Jack spots a deer and later calls it a buck. There's no sign of antlers on the deer, and we're unable to see the genitalia. Whether it's a young buck or a doe is anyone's guess. With that much snow, were it a buck, we'd spot antlers. See more »
Bleak, shocking, and brutal portrayals of men behaving badly.
A portrait of a violent destructive father, almost giant-like, whose behavior is threatening and whose words crash against and down upon his sons, dashing them to smithereens, mentally and physically. The father has successfully destroyed his sons, in a long process which began when they were young boys, who stood and watched their father in a hot temper strike blows upon their mother. The sons are unable to touch him, to feel any emotions towards him, but fear and loathing. The father instills fear in the viewer of the film. He is scary. There is nothing to redeem this father. The son who escapes tells this story as the narrator. The scalding and searing hatred and loathing that each holds to some degree for the other is viewed against stark black and white photographs of a New England winter. Seething unrelieving pain is the film's central character. The father and son anesthetize pain in alcoholism, which the narrator-son manages to just escape. Torture, brutal and mental, is shared in this sad family and memories of it loom large and don't go away. The mother's world is silent, and viewing this film, the viewer is just rendered silent: there are no words to describe the lives of the father and his two sons. Wasted, brutalized, and lost are not enough. How many families are there living as the Whitehouses do in our world? Calculating this pain and sadness is the film's bottom line. Metaphors for these realities bounce about and jar the viewer: the son's rotten tooth, the pleasure the father expresses in giving pain to his two sons, the vocabulary of brutality that destroys the human spirit.
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