After my introduction into the world of filmmaker Adam Ahlbrandt a couple of weeks back, I knew I had to get my hands on some more of his work. It took a bit of digging around the web and some help from some kind people in a Facebook group I belong to, but I was finally able to track down an affordable copy of his 2016 movie, Hunters.
A group of friends set out into the woods to make a movie. Before they know it, they are thrust into someone else’s film — a snuff movie being made by two psychotic brothers.
Just as I suspected, and hoped, Hunters is even more brutal than the last film of Ahlbrandt’s that I watched (see The Cemetery). It still contains some of the hiccups that all independent films suffer from — sound design issues, mixed levels of acting talent, etc. — but overall, it is everything I could hope for, and so much more.
If you are a casual horror fan, Hunters is not for you; If you are offended by full-frontal nudity, both male and female, Hunters is not for you; If you don’t feel comfortable watching people being tortured in every way possible, Hunters is definitely not for you.
Adam Ahlbrandt has created a film that was originally intended to be shot-on-video and released on video (VHS). It is a mixed bag of found footage handheld cam techniques and more traditional cinematography. The story spans the 1960’s, 1980’s, and 1990’s and is one of the most brutal films I’ve ever seen.
Hunters contains scenes of depravity that you can only dream of and some that I hope you’ve never even imagined. It isn’t the greatest story ever told, but it is not meant to be. It does, however, still feature a twist or two that make sure its audience is on their toes.
I quite enjoyed the acting of previous collaborator and assistant director on the film, J. D. Brown. Throughout the film’s 96 minutes, he is one mean son-of-a-gun who really has no qualms about ripping people apart and breaking them down, both mentally and physically. There are not too many people who can pull off a role like this and still have me as a fan. His actions are beyond disturbing and make this one really tough to watch.
If you are a fan of Ahlbrandt’s work, I strongly urge you to find a way to watch it. It is very pricey on Blu-ray and I really can’t in good conscience even tell you to pick it up, even if it was cheaper.
I recently learned that Adam Ahlbrandt himself never even received a copy of the pressed film from the distributor, doesn’t receive any royalties from the sale of the film, and some fans didn’t receive what was promised to them for contributing to the crowd-funding of the project. I’m not sure of all of the details, but I stand by the fact that I will no longer support the distributor of the home release of Hunters.
Adam Ahlbrandt is a special kind of filmmaker; He makes hardcore horror for hardcore audiences. His pushes the envelope with each film and I will continue to stay on the lookout for his next project, whatever it might be.
Hunters is a tough one, but I give it 3.5 dismembered penises out of 5.