Hunted follows a woman who becomes the subject of two men's torment as they attempt to kidnap her for their own nefarious games. When things go awry, the evening turns into a cat-and-mouse game through the woods. But soon, the woman has had enough and decides to fight back.
It is difficult for me to say definitively that this movie brings anything new to a sub-genre that already has quite a few entries. Most recently, Alone delivers in a similar fashion; in story, style, levels of intensity, and overall quality. So, from my perspective, if you've seen Alone, in many ways you know exactly what to expect from Hunted.
The film does a decent enough job keeping your attention, accelerating to a chaotic and frantic final act that almost feels like a different movie in some ways. Things take a turn for the weird in the performances and the stylistic approach, culminating in a showdown that feels like somebody decided to take a small dose of acid. The result is...strange, but original.
Despite a limited number of characters, the film manages to have moments of harsh brutality that often coincides with hunting-humans-in-the-forest movies. It's balanced well with the realistic acknowledgement that these people have limited experience in the woods and aren't used to defending themselves in life-or-death situations.
Despite some good scenes and well-rounded performances, it doesn't feel overtly special. Perhaps it was my recent viewing of Alone, but I felt like I had seen most of this movie before. It certainly doesn't break out of the mold of cat-and-mouse thrillers, especially those with a forest setting, and that limits my ability to give it high accolades.
Still, I consider it a well-crafted film. It progresses through its story in an engaging way. We care about the well-being of our protagonist. The lead antagonist is a disgusting, terrible human being that drives our bloodlust to see him get his comeuppance. These ingredients are a recipe for keeping your attention and remaining mildly entertaining. By the end of 2021, this film will likely be a casualty of limited memory when it comes to either the top 10 or bottom 10 lists of the year. It inevitably lacks the originality and flawless execution necessary to be memorable. But it wasn't a waste, either.
Horror Rating System
Horror Qualifier: 7/10
Horror Quality: 3/10 Film Quality: 5/10