Hunt Her, Kill Her sticks to a familiar premise but shows how to deliver action, fraught with tension in this cat-and-mouse chase. Despite lacking a hefty budget, directors Greg Swinson and Ryan Thiessen craft a claustrophobic film that leaves audiences holding their breath. Written by Greg Swinson, it's about a newly hired night shift janitor, Karen (Natalie Terrazzino). She fights for survival as masked intruders break in and hunt her through the factory. Effects are not top-tier, but given budget constraints, Hunt Her, Kill Her makes the most of its surroundings to deliver unforgettable moments.
The Setup Before They Track Her
The film opens with a long tracking shot of the entire factory. With no words, they show the sizable interior of the factory with machinery, tall metal shelves, and wood that will be the hunting ground for this deadly game. While changing into her uniform, a button-up shirt with a nametag, she receives a call from her neighbor. They chat about Karen's ill child, Lily (Olivia Graves), under the care of the neighbor while Karen works. After a lecture about calls on the clock, the day-shift janitor, Glenn (Larry Bunton), shows her the ropes as they trek through the dimly lit factory. This job is already a red flag, but based on chats with her nosy neighbor, Karen needs the money.
Seeing all the overhead shutters and doors emphasizes how easily intruders can gain access. Hunt Her, Kill Her illuminates more details about Karen's life and the unfolding misogyny through a quick, uncomfortable conversation Karen has with two men employees as she cleans the bathroom. One calls her a slur for not allowing her ex-husband, Danny (JC Oakley III), to see Lily. Their conversation shows that her ex is a powerful man around these parts, and the breakup is relatively recent. Even with mayhem about to ensue, the film highlights how single mothers struggle when they finally leave a toxic relationship.
Let the Games Begin
When Karen answers a knock at the door, anyone who's a horror aficionado is yelling at the screen. Half expecting a, “is Tamara home?” moment, it's a man delivering a package. At first, it seems to be a standard delivery, but then he asks if she's on the job alone. Why she answers in the affirmative may remain as much a mystery as why she doesn't phone the police immediately. Though with misogynistic men helming the job, appearing like the fearful worker means lost employment and wages that Karen cannot afford.
On the one hand, the factory's size is intimidating, but on the other, it is a blessing for Karen. When the masked men reveal themselves and pursue her, there are plenty of places for her to not only hide but also strategize. As this is a furniture factory, these men are obviously not here for tables. Though viewers have limited information, it's easy to figure out why they're after her. These men's conceit is why they struggle to catch her. Karen is crafty and thinks on her feet. Plus, these geniuses are wearing masks that obscure their peripheral vision. See what happens when you're cocky?
Tension Between Fights Shines More Than Battles
Greg Swinson and Ryan Thiessen's direction raises the intensity to a fever pitch, causing audiences to shriek at the screen, “go, go, go!” Natalie Terrazzino does phenomenal work through most of the film as a mom trying to survive and get back to her daughter. Each time she rounds a corner, you fear she's about to slam into an enemy. Karen and Erin from You're Next have a lot in common. Neither's going to go down without a fight. Hunt Her, Kill Her uses the entirety of the factory. Karen crawls through shelves and uses grease, wood, plunger, lights, etc. Good heavens, that plunger moment is equal parts shocking and comic relief.
Though the film is superb at keeping viewers tense, awaiting each moment these men discover Karen, some of the later fight sequences peter out. You see the effort behind the attempted action. So it takes you out of the engrossing scenes. That is especially the case during her final boss-level fight. The dialogue lacks the naturalness of earlier chatter, feeling forced to highlight the men versus women aspect. It's unnecessary as the entire film emphasizes that dynamic through its action.
One of the best aspects of Hunt Her, Kill Her is how it displays types of strength. Sure, the men are physically stronger than Karen. But their hubris lies in believing that's all they need against her. They lack Karen's resourcefulness, implying they haven't encountered enough problems that brute strength couldn't resolve. They should've watched some wildlife documentaries since mommas do not play when protecting their offspring. Even though the end does not quite stick the landing, Hunt Her, Kill Her is an intense, nerve-wracking film that leaves you on edge for most of its 89-minute runtime.
Rating: 6.5/10 SPECS
Hunt Her, Kill Her releases in theaters on March 3rd.
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This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.