Title: Hunting Lands
MPAA Rating: NR
Director: Zack Wilcox
Starring: Marshall Cook, Joe Raffa, Keyna Reynolds
Running Time: 1 hr and 23 mins
What It Is: Tethered to a life of isolation in the forest, Frank Olsen (Cook) tries to relieve himself from having any human interaction. This reclusive lifestyle soon changes when Frank comes across a beaten-up woman left for dead in the woods by a vile member of society. Faced with the fate of a stranger, Frank must choose between his life of impassiveness, or once again battle against the imperfections of civilization.
What We Think: If The Revenant had an ugly stepsister, this film would be it. Mind you, I’ve never even seen The Revenant. Another middle-aged white man wandering in the forest, taking justice into his own hands is not something new. To shoot the first act of the film in the woods was a real pleasure to watch for those not accustomed to cold weather; the close-ups on Cook allow the audience to immerse themselves into Frank’s lifestyle. The strength of any film comes primarily from the setting of its story, and this movie quickly loses its appeal when we’re lead on a wild goose chase in some raggedy town. I love more than anyone a good chase scene, but nothing is more boring than watching a man follow another man for literally 24 minutes (I counted them). Such a scene could have easily turned into a suspenseful chase in the woods, but the advantage was not taken. Instead, we have footage of the longest game of cat and mouse, and nobody bothered to throw in some cheese to intensify the hunt.
Our Grade: D-, A better title for this film would have been Hide and Seek Lands, as it felt more like a playful game rather than a dangerous dance between predator and pray. Watching the film made me feel like that cliche rude employee that is bothered when an innocent customer approaches them, the film being the innocent customer.