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The Hunted was director/actor/writer Josh Stewart's first film project I believe, and I thought it was pretty well done! This was a solid found footage suspense/horror movie in the vein of The Blair Witch Project. Very much in the vein in fact.
Let me start off with what I didn't like.
First, and this is a fairly minor gripe, was the fact there was music added to build suspense. Normally this wouldn't be a problem, but unfortunately in this case it's supposed to be a found footage film so it seemed very out of place and actually distracted me to the point I exclaimed "Where is this music coming from!?".
Second, I found too many similarities to The Blair Witch Project. I don't mean similarities as in they are both found footage films, but similarities as in some scenes and scenarios seemed very very close. I appreciate the fact it appears he is trying to honour that film, but there is a fine line there. It's very clear this was his influence.
Finally, it was a little to formulatic. I think Josh was trying to play it safe and stuck to a tried and true found footage formula. Not a huge deal but I would have been excited to see something a little different. This whole movie felt a little bit like I had watched it before.
Now the good. I loved the premise, two hunters alone in the woods when things start to go awry. The reasons for being out there make total sense, and it also makes sense why they would continue to push forward even with the strange goings on. They are trying to film a hunting show and need to get the footage of the hunt completed in order to secure their TV deal. Everything is on the line for them.
The acting was very good; both Josh and Skipp do a great job with their characters. You can tell this is something they were very excited about doing and their heart's were into it. It felt very natural and they were believable.
I enjoyed the story, it was very well written and very well done on what was obviously a very teeny tiny budget. I watched Willow Creek a couple of weeks ago and felt this was a far superior found footage film.
Even with the small problems, this is one of the better found footage films I've seen in a little while. Perhaps the fact that it was heavily influenced by what I consider the original found footage film was a smart move, and not a negative after all. I enjoyed it, and hope to see more work from Josh Stewart in this genre in the future. A great first effort!
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