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Film Review: Hunter (2018)

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SYNOPSIS:

Hunter was once a promising, up-and-coming MMA fighter but that all changed the night his mother and sister were brutally murdered by a group of home invaders. Now he’s homeless and doesn’t have a whole lot of hope, but he’s determined to find the people that killed his family and make them pay for what they did. Unfortunately, they aren’t exactly what they seem, and he may be in for the fight of his life.

REVIEW:

I wasn’t at all familiar with Hunter before I saw it, so I went into it not really knowing what to expect. Even though it has some horror elements I am hesitant to call it a horror film and think that it is more of an action flick (or even a superhero movie) more than anything else. I wasn’t sure if I was going to like it or not but after everything was said and done, I thought it was an entertaining little film and that it had a lot going for it. While it may not have been the best movie, I’ve seen so far this year it was still quite good, and I enjoyed it for the most part.

The premise is simple enough, but it works. We have this MMA fighter whose mother and sister are killed one night by a gang of weirdos that break into his house and his life goes to hell soon after. He quits doing the MMA thing and finds himself homeless and living on the streets as he is haunted by what happens to his family and seems to be losing his mind as a result. Things start to look up when he meets a sympathetic woman named Danni that works at a local homeless shelter and she helps him begin to pick up the pieces of his broken life. Just when he thinks that everything is going to work out, he discovers that the people that killed his family are still lurking about and to make matters worse it turns out that they are actually vampires. He decides that he must stop them at all cost before anyone else he cares about dies so he sets out to destroy them and end their reign of terror forever. I thought the premise was quite interesting and was unique in its own way and I have a feeling that a lot of other viewers out there will feel the same way if they give it a chance.

Without a doubt the biggest strength of the film is its cast. Jason Kellerman (who also wrote the script) does a phenomenal job as the title character and you can’t help but root for him as he wages war against the vampires that took so much from him. Not only is he a likeable character, but he is also very sympathetic, and I really felt for him as he struggles to straighten his life out. I thought that Kellerman did an awesome job in the role and for me his performance was probably the highlight of the entire film. The same could be said for Rachel Cerda who is equally impressive in the role of Danni.

I thought that she had a lot of chemistry with Kellerman and her performance was nothing short of top-notch. I think that my favorite character though had to be Luke, which is played to perfection by Ryan Heindl. Luke just recently became a vampire and is somewhat reluctant to feast on the blood of others until he is given an ultimatum by what could only be considered a senior level vampire that is essentially the main villain of the film. I thought that Heindl did a wonderful job of bringing Luke to life and in some ways, I couldn’t help but feel a bit sorry for him at times.

He isn’t exactly evil for the most part as he obviously doesn’t quite enjoy being a vampire and has an issue with killing others but soon discovers that he doesn’t have a whole lot of say in the matter when he is told that he will be killed if he doesn’t embrace his bloodthirsty nature. Heindl owns every scene that he is in and I think that many viewers will really like the character due to the strength of his performance as he knocks it out of the park.

I also liked the fact that the movie is quite action-packed as well. We get some pretty cool fight scenes throughout the movie (does Hunter really give the opponent he is fighting in the cage at the beginning of the movie the Roman Reigns Superman punch at one point or was that just my imagination?) and they are beautifully choreographed. I don’t know if Kellerman is trained in the mixed martial arts in real life or not, but he certainly comes off looking like a badass in the movie and it appears as though he could handle himself in an actual fight if he needed to. All the fight scenes that take place in the movie look great and come off as very realistic, so there isn’t a dull moment to be found as a result. In a lot of ways Hunter is almost a superhero-like character and I know that if I was one of the vampires that he is determined to stop I would be quite worried about my future as he is one tough cookie.

While it may not be for every taste I for one enjoyed Hunter. I thought that it was just different enough to work and if you are a fan of action films with a little bit of horror thrown in for good measure then you will dig it as well. In a lot of ways, it reminded me of the old Don “The Dragon” Wilson flick Night Hunter from 1996 but with a lot more heart and a better script (as well as much better acting). Do yourself a favor and check it out when you get a chance, I have a feeling you will be pleasantly surprised. Now if they would just do a crossover sequel with Blade from Marvel Comics as it would be quite awesome to see him team up with Hunter to kick some serious vampire butt!

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