Monthly Archives: March 2024

Hunted (2020)

Don’t hold me to this, but I think Hunted is a French movie. This is apropos of almost nothing, except that I will later use it to explain my problems with the movie, which are for the most part a little unfair.

So there’s this girl out for a night on the town, and she’s getting her flirt on, and before you know it she’s consentingly in the back seat of a dude’s car, when it suddenly turns out that he and his friend who climb into the front and starts driving, they do not have the noblest of intentions. And then she improbably escapes (not for the last time), and the hunt is on!

Anyway, French I said. One thing that I do not know is if the movie is dubbed. I think it maybe is not, but a lot of people in it, especially the primary antagonist, have incredibly annoying voices. Are their voices annoying because they do not match the person talking? I mean, that could be a sign of dubbing, but it could also just be a sign of someone with an unlikely voice. And since I already kind of hate my own voice, it feels crappy to rag on someone else’s, and yet… it was a distraction.

But the main problem is that it put me in mind of two other movies, both of which are substantially better. First, because of the woman’s ubiquitous red jacket, I thought constantly of Little Red Riding Hood, which in this context means I was thinking of Freeway[1]. And second, for pretty obvious reasons, I Spit on Your Grave[2]. And it is possible to make a mashup of two other movies stand up on its own, but this one, for whatever reason, just didn’t work for me.

Not to say Hunted did not have its charms. Here I am especially thinking of the survivalist bow-hunter mother and son, and the incredible uses of that one arrow. The pair of scenes to which I am alluding were very nearly enough to turn me around on the whole flick, so if you’re still curious, it might be worth your time after all.

[1] Unreviewed here because I saw it on The Last Drive-In, with Joe Bob’s full commentary supplanting my own, but I kind of loved it is the short version. Maybe the only dark, grimey for the sake of grime movie I’ve ever felt that way about. Starring Reese Witherspoon before she was anybody and Kiefer Sutherland before he became somebody the second time around.
[2] Which, as you know, I saw at the Alamo Drafthouse hosted by Joe Bob Briggs, back before his comeback was fully established.


How, you ask, have I never seen Blacula? The truth is, I really don’t know! I’d swear I got further than the Bs in the horror section of the College Station Hastings during my mid ’90s tenure. (I suppose they might have just not had it, though? Weird.) Anyhow, now I had to watch it, since the horror movie podcast did. And for the most part, hooray?

I mean, I’m not saying it’s good. But it for sure has its charms. In 1780, Prince Mamuwalde and his wife Luva are visiting Europe in protest of the slave trade, and they come to the castle of a certain Transylvanian count, who is not sympathetic to their goals by virtue of being a massive racist. And also a vampire.

Approximately 200 years later: Mamuwalde wakes up in exactly the kind of overstereotyped Los Angeles you’d expect out of an exploitation movie, and goes on a vampiric spree while also trying to win over the doppelganger of his long-dead wife. And… I mean, that’s pretty much it. The plot is just so very thin[1]. But the acting! I mean, to be clear, it’s not good either, but it’s comfortable. There’s scenery chewing by an African vampire prince, there’s a club fuckboy named Skillet, there’s a completely insane undead cab driver, there’s Icepick from the old Magnum PI series as a coroner with a gratuitous hook hand. You can’t make this shit up, except that it was the ’70s, and anyone who knew a dentist could not only make this shit up, but get it financed, filmed, and released! It was a glorious age, and we will never see its like again.

[1] unless you’ve never seen one of those “you are my reincarnated spouse, therefore you must disregard all red flags and love me” stories before, I suppose

Why Hide?

So, first things first. Both based on the movie I watched and based on a simple visual comparison between the two, Christmas Presence is a much better title than Why Hide? is, and I’m glad they changed the name at some point.

Once upon a time (ie the opening credits scene), twin girls were playing in the woods, and something happened to one of them? Both of them? Twins, so it was difficult to tell. Then, a bunch of adults show up at a house in the middle of nowhere to celebrate Christmas, and they… they are not likable. They bicker, but it isn’t fun, and to the extent that any of them might have been better than others, it was overridden by how caricatured they all were.

Later, because of ghosts or missing twins or ominous groundskeepers or maybe Anansi, they start dying. That middle part kind of worked, mostly because of the rising tension. But then the end of the movie did not make a lick of sense, and nope, I just did not like this one, even with the better title.


It Takes Two

Over the past month or so, Mary and I have been playing It Takes Two, from the same people who made A Way Out. This time, we actually played on the same couch together, which was fairly successful. What’s weird is, aside from the structural premise that the games are meant to be played together and do not support physical distance, from a screen real estate perspective, these two games could not be farther apart.

It Takes Two is a family drama about parents of a young daughter who have begun to resent each other and are on the verge of divorce. Only the daughter overhears this decision, and using a weird couples’ counseling book accidentally puts them under a curse where they are body-swapped into instantly regenerating clay and twiggy fabric bodies of insectile proportions, and the personified book leads them through fantastical versions of their home and their past, trying to teach them how to reconnect and start working as a team again.

Will it work? Depends among other things on how good you are at combat platformers.

But honestly, it was a sweet, heartfelt game about a plan that would almost certainly fail in real life, and I have to recommend it to anyone who likes to play a game with other people. It’s too bad it isn’t easier to curse people on the verge of divorce into having no choice but to trust each other and work together and have the kinds of experiences that form lifelong bonds, and find out whether that would work or not.