*** This review 100% contains spoilers ***
Plugging Bow Tech a presenter and camera man go to the wilderness to film a hunting documentary about a famous buck called ‘Movie Star’ but encounter the local legend.
Not to be confused with The Hunted (2003) what starts out as a hunting documentary turns into a paranormal investigation horror. Off the bat and clear from the outset is that actor Josh Stewart (who also wrote and directs) is outstanding as hunting documentary maker Jake. Although some may be put off by the pro-hunting angle (although morally it could be seen as a cautionary tale about why you shouldn’t hunt), this aside, it’s one of the better found footage films out there and best viewed in the dead of night with the volume up high.
The direction by Stewart is spot on and you get a good idea of the logistics and surrounding area of the setting. The camera work is crisp in keeping with the low budget but quality shoot of the pilot episode that they are filming. The images are not blurred or have too much out of focus shaky cam work, this works different to other features of the same genre, in as much as everything Slough dark at times is clear, but nothing is given away. Thankfully there’s no collage kids, Stewart’s script is very believable as it is more about the documentary about the buck rather than the encounters. The hunting lodge supporting cast lend credence to the film.
There’s added music which is reminiscent of the ghost hunting type programmes that have sprouted up over the years, which suggests their footage has been edited for broadcast. This debatably maybe an error but it can be left at the door. As well as the night on location shoot, there’s creepy photos and sounds but it’s the actors which sell this spin on the usual Blair Witch template along with the sound design, footstep, wails and shrieks of a disembodied woman voice which is much of the backbone hook throughout.
What it lacks in visual representation of the antagonist it makes up for with Josh’s excellent convincing performance as they come to terms that something isn’t right in woods, stream and surrounding area.
The Hunted is one of the better examples of how a tired sub-genre still has some life in it.