There is something seriously wrong with Kenneyville. When, a young woman, KIM (Kelsey Oluk), from Toronto goes missing and police mysteriously drop the case earlier than expected, two private detectives are hired to find her. With undercover aliases, CHARLIE (Dany Gehshan) and KELLY (Vanessa Broze) head to the small town of Kenneyville for answers after discovering significant clues. Upon meeting seemingly innocent locals, they end up in a shocking predicament of violence where Charlie is brutally beaten and Kelly is ruthlessly kidnapped. Charlie awakens in shock with a new mission: to find and save his partner and discover if Kim’s kidnappers are the same as Kelly’s.
Kenneyville, a small town that hides dark secrets. It’s often small towns that induce the greatest fear as if those slightly off the map subscribe to a way of life that doesn’t fit within our own.
Hot on looking for a story, Charlie (Dany Gehshan) and Kelly (Vanessa Broze), 2 news reporters, happen upon a missing persons discovery involving the disappearance of a young girl named Kim (Kelsey Oluk). Recent clues suggest that something doesn’t quite add up when looking at recent shipping invoices. Disguised as a couple hitchhiking, the 2 of them head out to Kenneyville to see if they can’t dig something up and uncover clues as to her whereabouts.
It doesn’t take them long before they run into some locals. Though luck is not on their side as a friendly invite becomes a direct portal into the hidden secrets of the community they intended on investigating.
Kelly is instantly kidnapped and taken to a undisclosed location. Thrown into a cage, she meets Adrian Black (Michael Scratch) who has a rather “specific” agenda in mind. Kim now finds what she’s been looking for but at the threat of her own life. Meanwhile Charlie encounters the town when trying to seek help after being beaten by thugs. The film quickly becomes a race for survival as Charlie rushes into locating Kim to keep her from harms way.
The mastermind behind this whole operation Adrian Black, has created a niche for himself in the trade of brainwashing young girls to prep them into being sex slaves. Though as the story evolves we find that their is an actual 2nd ulterior motive behind his experimentation.
Part of what makes this film so cool to watch is that the viewpoint and camera eye begins to experience a bit of what the victims are experiencing. Not too much that it isn’t watchable, but just enough so that you feel little off balance from the viewers chair. Hunter does take on a familiar subject which is the area of sex slaves, but it adds a bit of flair by introducing a brainwashing element rather than straight out capture, torture and sell scenario.
Hunter has a keen eye for visual narrative which translates in the choice of camera shots and edits. As a film offering, Hunter has created an intriguing piece that plays on the fear of faraway places. We again look at the trouble that lurks within society and tap into our own fears on what are assumptions might be. One of the points that is made loud and clear is the notion of poking our noses into areas we don’t understand. Even in the sense of a simple news story, the consequences involved may exceed our comfort level as we dive head first in naive territories. We also find that some folks are just seriously messed up in the interest of generating a profitable business.
Hunter plays on these fears and the agendas of strangers. The premise itself may mirror several other scenarios we’ve seen in the last few years, though it still maintains a strong sense of tension and danger. Kenneyville is a strong debut from Hunter who has previously stayed within the film short realm. The movie evolves and progresses, which to me is key to keeping viewers attached to the story and always guessing the next scene.