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Review: HUNTER’S MOON (2019) – BITS 2019

Having just reviewed a documentary on werewolf films, Mark of the Beast: The Legacy Of The Universal Werewolf, it seems only fitting a new one came my way so soon after. Hunter’s Moon from director Matthew Campagna and co-writer Rudy Jahchan. A film that blends lycanthropy, computer gaming, and on-line relationships into a bloody stew.

August (Steven Morana) is having a bout of social anxiety. He’s being forced to attend the launch party for the game he was the lead programmer on. And he’s finally met Cheyenne (Holly Deveaux, The Mist, Shadowhunters). That’s not gone well, she’s kept a few secrets from him, like the fact she’s a cam girl and has a gun fetish.

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Meanwhile, the game’s developer Brian (Art Hindle, Black Christmas, The Brood) is dealing with the assorted press and guests. Including some uninvited ones such as Yannick (John Cor, The Exorcism of Molly Hartley) the ex of his current girlfriend Nikki (Supinder Wraich). More ominous is Father Roman (Colm Feore, The Curse of Buckout Road, Trigger Point) who warns them they’ve pissed God off. Most of the guests think it’s part of the promotion. Until bodies start turning up torn to shreds. They’ll need to find out who, and what, the killer is if they want to survive.

Hunter’s Moon got off to a worrying start. August, in voiceover, introduces us to the cast and the plot. That’s usually a sign that the plot is so disjointed you can’t figure it out for yourself. This isn’t quite that bad. But the film does somewhat jump in at the deep end, and there’s little other setup or introduction to the rather large pool of victims.

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However, once the bodies start dropping, it doesn’t really matter. Most of the film focuses on August becoming the unlikely and somewhat unwilling hero. Other characters, for the most part, are featured long enough to die. We follow August, Cheyanne and August’s buddy Stan (Marco Timpano) as they try to save the day. We also see a lot of Remy (Ari Millen, Darken, Hellmouth) Brian’s assistant and fixer. He plays the foil August, both before and after things get messy.

I was, for some reason, expecting a plot more along the lines of the Peter Cushing film The Beast Must Die. But rather than it involving hunting werewolves, Hunter’s Moon has a more conventional plot, with the lycanthrope doing the hunting. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out who that is, either. But the script keeps things moving at a quick and bloody pace, so it does stay interesting.

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The effects look to be practical and are quite good and fairly plentiful for a lower budget film. The werewolf itself is a well done Howling type creature, thate looks quite capable of inflicting the carnage we see. Hunter’s Moon certainly delivers on that front.

All in all, though, Hunter’s Moon is a fun film, even if it isn’t quite on a level with Bonehill Road or High Moon. It makes its Canadian debut on November 24th as part of this year’s Blood In The Snow festival. It’s certainly worth watching when it gets released or if it plays a nearby festival. You can check for screenings on the film’s website and Facebook page.

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