Movie Review: Happy Hunting (2017)

Starring: Martin Dingle Wall, Ken Lally and Gary Sturm

Directed by: Joe Dietsch and Louie Gibson

Warren is an alcoholic who cannot function without drink, he stumbles across a tiny border town who annually celebrate their hunting tradition of hunting delinquents down and killing them for sport.

I came across this movie by scrolling through the recommended for you section on Netflix. I read the plot of the movie and it sounded very similar to Jean Claude Van Damme’s Hard Target from the early nineties, which is a movie that I still enjoy after many viewings. I was quietly excited about Happy Hunting but tried not to get my hopes up too much as these low budget independent horror style movies can be somewhat unpredictable in terms of quality.

The movie takes place in a small almost derelict looking border town who partake in an annual “sport” of hunting. Originally the hunting would be animals until the town switched their attention over to people. Targeting the undesirables and out of towners, the locals would rally up their victims and begin the hunt which consisted of chasing their prey down across the salt plains. Warren is a huge alcoholic and drug abuser who physically cannot cope while sober. He stops off at a motel within the eerie town before being drugged by Steve, a recovering alcoholic & hunt survivor. He awakens to find himself part of the twisted game and must do everything he can to stay alive and make it across the border to safety in Mexico.

I will firstly talk about the positives of Happy Hunting as there weren’t many so will be a relatively easy paragraph to write. I enjoyed the music used throughout the movie, it was chilling and creepy and really set the mood extremely well. In addition, some of the death scenes were really gruesome and brutal which usually is something that the low budget movies screw up but Happy Hunting absolutely nailed the majority of them.

Outside of these two redeeming features, there’s not a lot else Happy Hunting has going for it. The acting from pretty much everybody involved was very mediocre and below par and as I was watching the movie develop all I could think of was ‘I wish I was watching Hard Target right about now.’ For me, who thoroughly enjoys Hard Target, this was just a poor mans version of it which lacked all charm and had no likeable characters. During Warren’s attempt at escape he suffers numerous injuries, the main one was getting his leg caught in a bear trap which would most likely snap the ankle or the shin bone depending on where it connected. After being in pain for a little while he seems to be awfully mobile for somebody who sustained such an injury which really annoyed me because if you’re going to go through the effort of having people suffer these injuries at least make the effect of them realistic. This is a massive pet peeve for me in any movie, let alone bad movies like this.

In conclusion, don’t watch this, watch Hard Target instead, you’ll have a better experience. One of the worst movies I’ve watched this year.


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