March 23, 2020 Hunter’s Moon (Movie Review)
From the executive producer of 2007’s Live Free or Die Hard comes a brand new Home Invasion/Creature Feature, Hunter’s Moon. Lionsgate is set to release the Horror-Thriller offering to DVD, Digital, and On Demand on Tuesday, March 24th, 2020.
The all-American Delaney family have only just begun moving into their lovely new home, situated on a sprawling orchard, when Thomas (Jay Mohr: Jerry Maguire 1996, Go 1999) and Bernice (Amanda Wyss: The Id 2015, Murder in the First series) take an out-of-town trip. This leaves their three daughters—vixen Juliet (Katrina Bowden: 30 Rock series, Tucker and Dale vs Evil 2010), agreeable Wendy (Emmalee Parker: The Ghost Beyond 2018, Family Blood 2018), and no nonsense Lisa (India Ennenga: Treme series, The Irishman 2019)—stuck alone in a strange new house full of boxes.
They’re not alone for long. Lurking just outside are a ragtag trio of local criminals—de facto leader Lenny (Spencer Daniels: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button 2008, Star Trek 2009), lady-killer Billy (Will Carlson: Killer App 2017, Robert the Bruce 2019), and silent Daryl (Daniel R. Hill: Rust Creek 2018, Point Blank 2019)—and they’re about to complete the world’s easiest home invasion. Unfortunately for the would-be thieves, they’re not the only ones who have been casing the Delaney home: there’s something in the orchard, something bestial that is hungry for their blood. Who will be the first of the gang to die?
Clocking in at 82 minutes, Hunter’s Moon is a feature-length debut for talented Writer-Director Michael Caissie (In the Ashes short 2014, Purgatory series). The film also features the acting talents of Thomas Jane (Deep Blue Sea 1999, The Mist 2007), Anthony J. Sharpe (Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries series, Black Water: Abyss 2020), Sean Patrick Flanery (Powder 1995, The Boondock Saints 1999), Lexi Atkins (The Boy Next Door 2015, Altered Carbon series), and more.
Three young criminals, three beautiful blonde sisters, a serial killer, and a horrifying creature meet at a house on an orchard—what’s the punchline? Thankfully for Hunter’s Moon, while the film is a light-hearted approach to the Horror-Thriller, it never goes so far as to make itself the butt of any good jokes. A bizarre blend of the home invasion Thriller and classic Horror creature features, this is a film that, while unique, definitely has some issues deciding exactly what it wants to be. As a Thriller, it lacks the urgency and tension of a good offering, delivering too much too soon to ever provide any real thrills. However, its Horror devices come into play far too late to deem this a truly terrifying or spine-tingling experience.
That said, while there’s an inherent conflict in the film’s script, it is still quite enjoyable. With a wonderfully artistic, nature-filled transition early on, excellent cinematography from Ben Kufrin (Visions 1998, Killer by Nature 2010) and Edd Lukas (The Party’s Just Beginning 2018, Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase 2019), and top notch special fx makeup and creature effects from Vincent Guastini (The Last of the Mohicans 1992, The Dark Tapes 2016), Hunter’s Moon has plenty to offer. This includes the film’s wonderful cast, who all do an exceptional job in their roles. Although, the standout here is Thomas Jane as the somewhat cringe-inducing sheriff, who provides a performance that borders on comedic. While all the other roles lean more toward the serious and challenge their actors to maintain stolid faces, Jane is allowed to get a little crazy as the man with the badge.
In fact, as it nears its conclusion Hunter’s Moon truly hits its stride, delivering the Horror portion of its script and a twist ending that, though you will see it a mile off, is still fully enjoyable. So, yes, the film has its flaws, but Caissie certainly deserves some bonus points for trying to merge two classic tropes into one very original screenplay. It fumbles here and there, but the ride is still one worth taking—particularly if you adore an exquisitely rendered hairy creature. For this, Cryptic Rock gives Hunter’s Moon 3.5 of 5 stars, and we kindly urge you to stay through the end credits.