Hunt Club Image

Hunt Club

By Michael Talbot-Haynes | May 18, 2023

The screenplay also makes clever moves by expanding the scope of its world-building at key points, such as revealing the existence of hunt clubs all over the planet. The story is always getting you into something heavier and heavier, with dark sheets of excitement storming down. The film has the hardcore cheap thrills I wish were in theaters right now. I envy those countries that get to spill their popcorn on the floor for this one. 

The casting of Hunt Club is grindhouse genius. Suvari gives us the layered and nuanced heroine like Pam Grier used to deliver in movies like these. With the range she shows here, I can see her doing both quiet drama and rambunctious action moving forward. The stunt casting of the former child stars the Londons increases the astonishment surrounding the revolting acts they commit. If they haven’t broken their typecasting yet, here you go. Rourke gives us the nastiest onscreen villain since Alan Arkin tore it up in Wait Until Dark. Ever since I saw Rourke smoke a cigarette while holding a bloody straight razor in Angel Heart, I knew he had the potential of great cinema ruthlessness. His execution of Virgil exceeds my darkest expectations. Rourke here is a truly savage creature whose humanity slides away like the skin of a snake.

“…will linger in your thoughts like a bloody trophy head on the wall.”

But now it is time to speak about the villain work put in by Mr. Van Dien. He dyes his wool so black here that light cannot escape. What is a wonder to behold is Van Dien plays his evil with such conviction that you truly believe his character doesn’t think he is in the wrong. The combination of his perpetual matinee looks with such raw, dripping malevolence ignites the screen. Why the hell hasn’t he been cast as the evil space captain in an evil Star Trek series set in the evil Mirror universe? The only weak spots in the ensemble are some of the captive women, who remain on the cardboard target level. This is a shame, as this segment of the cast should maintain the pain convincingly. However, this is just a small smudge on a vast chrome landscape of cathartic euphoria.

Hunt down and watch Hunt Club. It will linger in your thoughts like a bloody trophy head on the wall.

Hunt Club (2023)

Directed: Elizabeth Blake-Thomas

Written: David Lipper, John F. Saunders

Starring: Mena Suvari, Casper Van Dien, Mickey Rourke, Maya Stojan, Will Peltz, Jessica Belkin, David Lipper, Kipp Tribble, Jason London, Jeremy London, etc.

Movie score: 9/10

Hunt Club Image

"…a juggernaut of post-exploitation fury."

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