I must admit when I first heard about this movie, there was one thing that really caught my attention the usage of a ghillie suit (so many action films, primary the sniper ones already deployed it), always thought it would be ideal if used in a horror filming with stalking themes and then add in an ancient spear. The film suggested a Most Dangerous Game ; which has been used many times before and recently in the controversial flick The Hunt  trying to hone a minute piece of The Silence of the Lambs  in a cat and mouse that incurs with director Robin Pront film and screenwriter Micah Ranum. Therefore, does it live up to all these suggested attributes? Let’s see.
Sadly, I must start with the warning of spoilers ahead, in screenwriting there’s a few ground rules, that pesky motive concept for the killer, why are they doing what they do, is it because one trespassed on their land, bullied in school/life, oversexed babysitters ignoring children, etc. Herein the killer’s teenage daughter was killed by a drunk driver, therefore you guess it, he’s hunting and slaughtering teenage girls – whoa, let that sink in, then go ahead WTF OR WTH. It doesn’t make sense it’s a very bizarre reasoning, followed by when he’s stalking his prey it finds trap cameras and disables just one, but stays in the area to continue to kill. Now diving further into the story centers on a former hunter now game preserve warden Rayburn Swanson (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Mama )) described as an alcoholic, (well so-called) doesn’t guzzle it a lot, meanwhile Sheriff Alice Gustafson (Annabelle Wallis (Annabelle )) who has discovered a victim’s body and starts to suspect her brother who suffered some sort of abuse at his foster family’s barn. It all leads Rayburn not adhering to some of the basic concepts in hunting i.e. listening and noting the direction of their initial attack coming towards them rather than shooting in various angles in a circle, of course the killer gets away. As a result it seems that the story plays a game of connect-the-dots, with the Sheriff doing things that others in her department begin to question, it allows our two primary actors Nikolaj and Annabelle to weave their independent paths which leads to a terrible conclusion.
First the positives, the acting is spot-on, the leads Coster-Waldau and Wallis interact wonderfully well, and assisted by the supporting cast, sometimes in independent features this aspect can lag, thankfully for the viewers that’s not an area of concern. As for the negatives there is a few, many deals with the script, which clearly needed another rewrite and perhaps a third party as a devil’s advocate, because the movie allows the viewer to put two and two together rather than incorporating more suspense and self- discovery. The reason, the characters struggle to become real due to some poor dialogue moments, leading to ill-timed tension building which leads to stumbling transition scenes. Such as the shortcut version of backstory motivation, newspaper clipping and/or photographs many films big and small productions and in all genres have and continue to use the method, it’s a tiresome scene. Then finally the filler scenes, the excessive shots of various vehicles of struggling to start, starting, driving, and finally parking with constant door slamming – ugh, enough.
Ultimately the movie becomes a series of misfitting jigsaw pieces, mainly from the serial killers confusing modus operandi (m.o.) it simply lacks the correct emotional impact as previously mentioned. The film’s leading actors do their best to carry the film, but the excessive safe route hinders the film gaining tension a requirement in any thriller. Therefore, the movie isn’t rotten to the core, it has promise, if one is willing to be led rather than discovering for themselves then silence your mouths and click play.
IMDb Rating: 6.1/10
Baron’s Rating: 5.0/10