Hunt Her, Kill Her - FrightFest Glasgow International Premiere Review
Director: Ryan Thiessen, Greg Swinson
Starring: Natalie Terrazzino, JC Oakley III, Trevor Tucker, Olivia Graves
Written by: Greg Swinson
Produced by: Bernard James
Cinematography by: Ryan Thiessen
Original Score by: David Risdahl
A janitor in a furniture factory finds herself in a fight for her life when she becomes the target of sinister masked intruders.
Survival slasher horror is hard to get right every time. There are certain rules that need to be adhered to but being original and finding your own nuanced twist will be key to rise above the rest. 'Hunt Her, Kill Her' does a lot of good things well but sadly the tension isn't palpable enough for it to really stand out in a genre that is already overflowing with so much quality.
Natalie Terrazzino plays Karen, a single mother who is just about to start her first shift as a night janitor at a furniture factory. She's given the very basic tour by her day shift equivalent and we're informed that she'll be the only person working in the entire building. We get some quick fire teases to her background straight away. She has a little sick girl who she's left with a neighbour and she also has an old hand injury that means she finds it difficult to do intricate tasks but sweeping floors and emptying bins should be fine.
The early dialogue here is very clunky and on the nose and the delivery of some of the lines are not very good but we at least get a little insight into the character of Karen. Her coworker is an absolutely asshole.
Prior to even seeing Karen we get a lovely little montage showing us the factory and warehouse space that we are going to be seeing a lot more of in the next 90 odd minutes or so. It was well edited with a lovely score from David Risdahl, which made me think back a little bit to the original 'A Nightmare on Elm Street' intro. There was definitely an homage to Charles Bernstein's industrial fuelled score from the 1984 classic and there's a chase scene later on which evokes his iconic sound too. Loved it.
As promised, when Karen is left on her own and she begins her night shift she is eventually joined by a gang of masked crazies who are out to kill her. There's a fairly unsubtle hint to who they might be just before her shift starts when she has an encounter with some less than savoury co-workers who know her ex-husband. The addition of the masks seemed a little redundant because there was no mystery to who these attackers were or if there was supposed to be it was never made into part of the story. What made it weirder was that Karen kept taking their masks off after she killed them. This didn't really add anything.
One of the huge negatives for me was the sound, particularly the voice tracks of the characters. I'm assuming the masks that the thugs are all wearing have built-in voice changers because they all sounded exactly the same and they sounded very unnatural. It was a bit goofy at times especially when some of the dialogue is as boring and repetitive during the tense scenes. There's a lot of "Come here bitch!" and "You're going nowhere bitch!" and stuff like that. I'm not being funny but they all sounded like Scorpion from Mortal Kombat. Maybe that was just another homage from the filmmakers.
While I did imply that the acting at the start wasn't the best I will give Natalie Terrazzino her props. Whenever the shit hits the fan she really gives a great performance and it's a very physical performance too obviously. Lots of running and jumping off steps and hanging from warehouse shelving and bending down to crouch into small spaces. I wasn't really that invested in her survival early on but by half way through I had found myself becoming engrossed in just how she was going to get out of the situation. I liked the addition of her constantly fighting to get back to her daughter although I do feel like this could've been expanded a bit.
For a low budget film it does have some nice violent moments involving various tools found around the factory warehouse. The fight scenes aren't anything special (although they are quite brutal at times) but I have to applaud the camera work because its clear the filmmakers did everything they could to make the film look good and have a certain quality to the visuals, even though they were lacking a little bit.
'Hunt Her, Kill Her' is a decent low budget single location survival horror and with a bit more money and a couple of tighter rewrites to include some much needed heightened tension and maybe a bit more character work then it had a lot of potential.
- Gavin Logan
'Hunt Her, Kill Her' received its International Premiere at FrightFest Glasgow on Saturday 11th March