January 14, 2021 Hunted (Movie Review)
The award-winning Vincent Paronnaud has accomplished a great deal in his career. Making his way as a French comic book artist/writer, in the film world, he is perhaps best known for the critically acclaimed 2007 animated film Persepolis. Turning heads again with films like 2011’s Chicken with Plums, he now provides an adrenaline-charged twist in his modern day adaptation of the Grimm Brothers’ Little Red Riding Hood with Hunted. Initially appearing at the 2020 Fantasia Film Festival, Shudder premiered it on Thursday, January 14, 2021.
Clocking in at 87 minutes, Hunted allows viewers to sink their teeth into a Survival Thriller with a human predator who shakes off his sheep’s outer garments to reveal his wolf’s deranged inner essence. Eve, portrayed by Lucie Debay (Our Struggles 2018, Cleo 2019), is a woman plagued with work issues, who becomes an unwitting victim of a psychopath’s machinations. Unable to pry herself from the clutches of the wolf, she ultimately channels her inner Rambo with a steely determination to live to see another day and throttles her survivor mode into hyperdrive.
The opening scene reveals two figures huddled together around a campfire in the woods blanketed by darkness. One is listening spellbound while the other recites a story by rote about a young woman who prefers the company of wolves over men.
After a frustrating day at work Eve decides to head to a local bar to let off some steam. As she orders her drink, she is pestered by a male patron and is summarily rescued by ‘the guy’. This nameless man, who seemingly appears to be a knight in shining armor, is portrayed by award-winning Actor Arieh Worthalter (Marie Curie: The Courage of Knowledge 2017, Girl 2018). Immensely grateful for the chivalrous gesture, she spends a few hours in his company dancing and sipping mixed drinks. Once they leave the sanctuary of the bar, the pleasant evening rapidly deteriorates and becomes a full-blown nightmare.
Clocking in at 87 minutes, Hunted is cinematic piece that is masterfully crafted. It is complete with a steady pace and a story that rolls out like cookie dough ready to take shop. Both strong points, meticulous care also went into combining the optimal mix of music and screen action to create a desired mood. And to complete it all close-ups of forest animals pepper the screen to complement the action.
In regards to the cast, the acting is overall ferociously well done. Debay does a phenomenal job transforming her character from a woman who is walked all over into a formidable shieldmaiden. Little Red Riding Hood outsmarts the wolf, and for this, you are tempted to jump up and give Eve a standing ovation. On the other hand, Worthaler is a perfect study in sociopathic behavior because he delves into the role like a second skin.
The takeaway from Hunted is to never underestimate the survival instinct of a person, and never judge a man by his outward demeanor. A must see for all those voracious fans of Survival Thrillers, Cryptic Rock gives Hunted 5 out of 5 stars.