(Movie Review by Bill Paterson) You sort of have to grade these low-budget independent horror flicks on a curve. Like when you have a class full of lacrosse players taking “Intro to Spanish”. Let’s just assume getting an “A” is improbable.
By that standard, some of the excrement I’ve seen in this genre would go from zero stars to half a star, or at least from the negative numbers back to zero. I feel like some of these celluloid bed-wetters actually owe me a couple stars.
So, with the curve in mind, I’m giving the DVD release of “Hunting Humans” a passing grade. Shocking, I know. Seeing the title and reading the log line, you’d be inclined to think I’d tear this thing to shreds like Rosie O’Donnell would a cupcake wrapper. Now don’t get me wrong: Stephen King can rest easy. (Assuming he stops riding his bike on deserted roads.) But considering the minimal budget and the repercussions it had on casting, effects, sets, film transfer, etc., this thing is actually not half bad.
The director responsible is one Kevin Kangas. And what he’s come up with is the story of a serial killer named Aric (Rick Ganz). I’m not sure why his name begins with A, unless it’s a gimmick to be listed first in the phone book under serial killers. This guy must have done well on his high school aptitude tests though, because he really seems to have found a job he loves. That would be random killings. Things get interesting when Aric suddenly finds that he has become the target of yet another serial killer.
As premises go, the one for “Hunting Humans” is pretty interesting. I mean right now in theaters is a Spike Lee movie about some dude impregnating lesbians. By comparison, “Hunting Humans” is King Lear.
On the plus side is the innovative storyline, including some cagey plot twists. Enough that it doesn’t turn into one of those “saw that coming a mile away” jobs. Production value aside, the film is tightly edited and flows nicely.
Not so good are the lame dialogue that furthers the plot and the wooden acting. Yet if you asked yourself: With a larger budget could this director have crafted a compelling film? You’d have to say: Well, how the hell should I know? But you’d have to admit it’s quite possible.
Sure, there’s plenty of unevenness. Inexplicably, Aric’s narration is a completely different voice than that of the actor playing the role (Rick Ganz, who is passable). Also, they use the word “prey” a lot. Now, I don’t personally know any homicidal maniacs (unless you count my mother-in-law) but I get the impression they would think you were a poser if you dropped the word “prey” into conversation all the time.
Basically, give Kangas a punch-up writer to inject some realism and character into the dialogue and a few bucks to spend on higher-end actors and production, and he just might churn out a darn fine horror movie. I hope he gets the chance.
Of course, you can disregard all of this, because I’m simply trying to avoid being hunted and killed by the guy whose imagination produced this fairly disturbing concept.
I’m warning you, Kangas, if anything happens to me, all six people reading this review will go right to the cops.
Kevin Kangas (director) / Kevin Kangas (screenplay)
CAST: Rick Ganz …. Aric Blue
Bubby Lewis …. Marv
Lisa Michele …. Barb
Trent …. Frank Cooper