Vincent Paronnaud’s (PERSEPOLIS) Hunted hits Shudder today. Some solid cosplay inspo here in this modified mutation of Little Red Riding Hood.
What starts out as a chilling campfire tale being relayed to a kid looking like he might shit his pants, leads into real world, present day protagonist and Little Red Riding Hood-esque, Eve. We are first introduced to Eve on the job, immediately followed by a call from her boss who patronizes her for presumably not being “hard enough” on getting the crew to meet deadlines and offering to send a male cohort to get-the-job-done. After a rough day at work, our girl his the bar for a drink. The truly terrifying part of this movie for me was Eve navigating through the city as an independent woman who can very much hold her own and the multiple encounters she thwarts with lecherous leering wolves in the form of men slinking about. Eve is smart, savvy – but we are in a horror film after all.
Not to spoil anything, but this is a revenge tale so we can assume that 1) at some point shit goes sideways for Eve 2) at some point the tables turn. And were you wagering on these two points, you would be a bit richer right now. Once shit goes sideways, a relentless hunt ensues and the wolf in sheep’s clothing is even more heinous than one could have suspected. More vile than vile and we want terrible things to happen to him. It gets real grindhousey somewhere around here. The tables turn. And turn again. And then once more. And maybe a few times hence. Relentlessly beating the absolute shit out of these characters.
There is a shocking moment that had me sort of screaming at the screen. I don’t really know how we were intended to feel about it but I screamed and did one of those sort of inappropriate shock induced giggling bits. There’s a real Braveheart moment that looks super cool, possibly also a nod to another French film Pierrot le Fou– but the way it comes about was another moment that took me out of the story a little bit on account of scratching my head a bit. Geography is not my strong point but there is a segment involving woods, corn fields and then suddenly BAM civilization seemingly much closer than it should be. Much of the film is heavily grounded in reality, so slightly fantastical elements (and I don’t mean magic but more along the lines of characters appearing and vanishing or seemingly geographic inconsistencies) is a bit jarring. Maybe it’s a fever dream and we are working on an acid trip of a timeline and geography at this juncture. Just go with it.
By the end of the film, things are looking quite gorgeous and feral and some gruesome shit has been consumed. Lucie Debay as Eve is a treat to watch as she becomes abso-fucking-lutely unhinged and feral and Arieh Worthalter as the (formerly) charming maniac is truly terrifying. While I wish there were some plot points that carried to further fruition and I was pulled out of it a bit at times, it was an enjoyable watch. Some of the things alluded to aren’t totally ignored, I just personally would have loved to see them really at the forefront for the payoff. Feminist revenge horror, comeuppance, reclaiming your power, returning to your roots, punctuated with grindhouse level gore… all good shit.
Stream Hunted now on Shudder