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Atop the front of the DVD case you'll see the sentence "From the director of Children of the Corn," as if A) Children of the Corn was a good flick and B) the name Fritz Kiersch means much of anything to today's horror fans. (Kiersch directed The Hunt after a ten-year directorial sabbatical, but his earlier films include Tuff Turf, Gor, and Into the Sun ... and if you've seen all of these movies, then you probably know what you're getting into with The Hunt.
Shot (rather sloppily) on handheld digital video cameras, The Hunt is little more than a late-coming and entirely arid retread of The Blair Witch Project -- with just a casual dash of The X-Files tossed in at the end -- the way you might toss a small slice of ham to a dog who's been salivating for 80-some minutes. Boasting an unnecessarily convoluted story structure and more unpleasant video work this side of a 1983 wedding video, The Hunt is 70 minutes of yap, 12 minutes of goofiness, and a very welcome reel of end credits.
Two guys and a young boy head into the woods, get lost, and come across a "secret" something that I dare not spoil because it's the only remotely interesting thing in the flick. One of the men is an astute bow hunter, while the other one is an opportunistic cameraman. The plan is to produce a series of "how to kill deer with a bow" videos, which our brilliant businessmen will then sell to Wal-Mart for a big payday. In an effort to bolster the dreary plot -- and make The Hunt reach a passable feature-length running time -- we get background stories about estranged husbands and absentee fathers. Nothing that adds a lick of color or dimension to the flick, trust me.
The Hunt jumps back and forth from the "forest wanderings" to the "rescue party research" footage from a few days later. It's all quite sloppily cut-together, frankly, and once The Hunt (finally) decides to drop its gloves and dole out a few long-overdue answers -- all you'll be left with is a feeling of "That's it? Really?" The movie has a boring plot, a few completely recycled "scare" scenes, and a few acting performances that border on self-parody. It ain't smart, it ain't scary, and it sure ain't worthy of a $20 DVD.
Video: The anamorphic widescreen (1.78:1) transfer doesn't do much to cover up the movie's grungy look. If you're going to look as low-rent as The Blair Witch Project, you should at least try to copy that film's tone, mood, and overall air of gradual creepiness.
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 or DD 2.0. I went with the first one and got to hear all the tinny dialogue my ears could ever want.
There's a 20-minute Making Of featurette in which various clueless investors and filmmakers claim they're making something pretty special. Also included is the film's theatrical trailer.
Since I'm a huge fan of The Blair Witch Project, I can understand why other filmmakers would want to ape its tone, its inexpensiveness, and (of course) its success. The Hunt gives it a half-hearted effort, and the result is a movie that could teach a cup of strong coffee how to yawn.