Director: J.D. Cohen
Script: J.D. Cohen
Cast: Imogen Bailey, Jason Stojanovski, Tasneem Roc, Sarah Mawbey
Running time: 94 minutes
Year: 2009
Country: Australia
Certificate: 18

First up I think the makers of 7th Hunt should be awarded a medal for most misleading title of the year so far; either that or they didn’t know what the word ‘hunt’ means. Spying on your victims and then incapacitating them and bundling them into the backs of vans doesn’t really constitute hunting; well, not in my book anyway!

I guess my main disappointment with this film wasn’t the fairly lacklustre plot, the generally naff acting or irritating characters, but the fact that it turned out to be something quite unlike what I thought it would be like. I thought it was going to be another riff on The Most Dangerous Game tradition of films including the film of the same name from 1932, starring Leslie Banks, and its more recent cousins including Hard Target, Turkey Shoot, Death Ring and Avenging Angel. Instead of an exciting ‘chosen targets on the run from crazy hunters’ type of film I got annoying young student types get kidnapped and then tortured by even more annoying psychopaths for ninety minutes!

A group of student types from a local college - including a Goth girl, her deaf sister, a computer nerd, a spoiled rich girl and a dickhead misogynist - are selected by some rather disturbed individuals to take part in their own warped ‘games’ at a nearby abandoned military base. Each victim is selected by a variety of twisted killers, each with their own brand of torture and methods of killing to keep things interesting, although sadly not for the viewer!

The attractive rich girl, Sarah, is basically tortured and killed in a basement by a crazy older guy who’s known as ‘the knife’ – I expect you can guess why - but who looks like a reject from Neighbours! Gothic chick, Callie, is tortured by killer ‘The Inquisitor’, (also known as Katherine!), who ties her to a wooden T-frame and injects her with lots of blue solutions and tries to suffocate her. A young lady dressed in oriental gear, known as the hand, (who seems to know some martial arts, although this isn’t particularly clear due to the really bad editing during those scenes), beats up woman-hating Ricky. She finally convinces him to commit suicide, rather unrealistically, by jumping off a not very tall building. Callie’s deaf sister, Ariel, is stalked and repeatedly shot at by ‘the sniper’, while computer nerd/editor, Chris, is forced to try and rescue his friends through the power of his hacking skills and pays for incurring any penalty points by losing his fingers one at a time, by the hands of some dude who must be the least threatening psycho in cinema history! And the mastermind, the hand’s very twisted father, oversees all of this macabre mayhem through video monitors, which he records for posterity – well TV is pretty naff these days!

To be honest most the film’s running time is taken up with each of the killers humiliating and killing their victims in often rather elaborate ways. They’re all obviously fans of the Saw movies and James Bond. And it’s pretty obvious that this film’s primary influences are the Hostel and Saw movies, although at least with those films the production values were much higher, hence even if the plot was poor the death scenes were worth the price of admission. Sadly the same can’t be said of 7th Hunt!

It’s not all bad news though. The film is generally pretty well photographed, with some pretty inventive shots dropped in from time-to-time and not all the acting is dreadful – Imogen Bailey, who plays Ariel, actually comes out of it fairly well, helped by the fact that her character is probably the only really sympathetic character in the movie. There are also some reasonably effective gore effects, which are mostly understated, and some fairly interesting locations, although more could have been made of the fact that it’s an Australian production. And the film does at least try and surprise us in the final reel with a bit of a twist to the story.

As with many low budget horror films, 7th Hunt is let down by a messy script, pretty poor acting and even poorer sound design, which often drains tension out of the film and is really rather flat. The music is also pretty uninspiring and in some places unsuitable.

Best line in the movie: ‘Can I borrow your Taser’ asks the knife. ‘Yes’ says the inquisitor, ‘but don’t drain the batteries’!

Reviewer: Justin Richards

Left Films have just released 7th Hunt on DVD, so keep a look out for it on the shelves of your local HMV, supermarket or online. The extras on the preview disc I viewed included a fairly good trailer, which will make you want to see the film, and a stills gallery, which includes some shots from behind the scenes.

Trailer:

About The Author

Justin Richards is a journalist by day and a scriptwriter by night. His work has appeared in the darker recesses of the internet and in various niche publications including ITNOW, The Darkside, Is it Uncut?, Impact and Deranged. When he’s not sitting hunched over a sticky, crumb-laden keyboard he’s paying good money to have people in pyjamas try and kick him repeatedly in the face.

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