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Review: HUNTER’S MOON (2020)

Yes, I just reviewed a film called Hunter’s Moon. And it was about a werewolf. But that Hunter’s Moon and this Hunter’s Moon are two totally different beasts. The one we have here today was filmed under the title The Orchard and is a mashup of crime, serial killer and lycanthrope plotlines. Is this Cali lensed creature feature better than the Canadian one we previously reviewed? Or are you better off putting a silver bullet between your eyes than watching it?

Martin Ellsbury (Sean Patrick Flanery, Lasso, Assault on VA-33) is turning on the charm and plying a young lass with wine. Drugged wine, as it turns out, and she soon passes out. Instead of lechery, though, he has homicide in mind and strangles her. He takes the body out to the orchard to bury and is dragged into the bushes by an unseen creature.

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Fast forward, Thomas (Jay Mohr, American Nightmares, Go) and Bernice (Amanda Wyss, Silverado, The Resonator: Miskatonic U) are moving into Martin’s former residence. Daughters Wendy (Emmalee Parker) and Lisa (India Ennenga) are ok with it. Oldest daughter Juliet (Katrina Bowden, Piranha 3DD, Great White) not so much. Mom and Dad leave the girls alone and some lowlifes turn up. Juliet invites them in. And that’s when things start to get hairy.

Hunter’s Moon is a disaster from start to finish. The opening murder is staged so poorly it’s almost funny. Flanery, who was in the much better werewolf film High Moon, is totally wasted. Much of his part actually seems to have been shot with a body double. And it doesn’t get better as it goes on.

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Juliet is constantly treated like she’s a kid, despite the fact Katrina Bowden is in her 30s and looks it. It’s their first night in the new house. There are reports of another serial strangler in the area. So, Mom and Dad go on an overnight trip and leave the girls alone. This is harder to believe than werewolves.

Speaking of werewolves, we almost never see it. Hunter’s Moon gives it maybe five minutes of screen time. And it’s so awful looking, that’s five minutes too many. With a cast full of recognizable names, I would expect the film to have at least some production values. It doesn’t. Apart from the crappy monster suit, there are almost no effects. Maybe all the budget went on the cast.

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The last half of Hunter’s Moon tries to be surprising and unleashes a flurry of plot twists. Two of which revolve around the local sheriff (Thomas Jane, Run Hide Fight, The Mist), and both of which are stupid. But nothing compares to the absolutely unbelievable revelation of what’s behind everything.

If writer/director Michael Caissie had at least filmed it with a bit of flair, Hunter’s Moon might have at least been enjoyable silly. But there’s no flair or energy to be found. This wasn’t even so bad it was funny, it’s so bad it was boring.

Hunter’s Moon is available on DVD, Digital, and On-Demand from Lionsgate.

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