Hunted (2020) poster

Hunted (2020)

Rating:


Belgium. 2020.

Crew

Director – Vincent Parronaud, Screenplay – Vincent Parronaud & Lea Pernollet, Producers – Alexandre Perrier & Benoit Roland, Photography – Joachim Philippe, Music – Olivier Bernet, Visual Effects – Screen Scene (Supervisor – Liam Neville), Special Effects Supervisor – Thomas Coqu, Makeup Effects/Prosthetics – Lionel Le, Production Design – Laios Hendrickx. Production Company – Kidam/Wrong Men/Charades/Longride/Savage Productions/Wallimage (Wallona)/BNP Paribas Fortis Film Finance/Voo and Be tv.

Cast

Lucie Debay (Eve), Arieh Worthalter (The Guy), Ciaran O’Brien (The Accomplice), Ryan Brodie (Jeremy 15 Years), Simone Milsdochter (The Huntress)


Plot

Eve goes out to a bar to relax. After a guy harasses her, another man steps in to drive him off. Eve dances with the other man and then goes outside with him. When they get into the back of his car to make out, a younger man appears and drives off. When Eve protests, the two men lock her in the trunk. They then strike a deer on the road and the car is overturned. In the midst of this, Eve makes an escape and flees through the forest pursued by the man.


Hunted comes from French director Vincent Parronaud. Parronaud had previously co-directed the internationally acclaimed animated Persepolis (2007) with Marjane Satrapi. He and Strapi also co-directed the live-action Chicken and Prunes (2011). Parronaud previously went solo with the zombie comedy Villemole 81 (2009).

Hunted treads familiar ground – a woman abducted by a psychopathic male and forced to make an escape. We have seen variations on this going all the way from the notorious I Spit on Your Grave (1979) to the women-led Revenge (2017). Around this time, there was also other Girl Power versions such as Hunt Club (2022), Hunting Ava Bravo (2022) and Unseen (2023), while The Retreat (2021), which casts the woman as a lesbian couple.

There are quite a number of similarities between Hunted and the US-made Alone (2020), released five months earlier the same year, which had a near-identical plot where Jules Willcox was abducted by a man and had to make a lone survival run through the woods. In fact, I think Hunted does a far more tense and urgent telling of the same story that Alone tried to. Before that, you could point to a whole bunch of films that derive from The Most Dangerous Game (1932) in which Joel McCrea and Fay Wray are forced to survive with their bare hands on an island while hunted by a Russian aristocrat – I have a detailed essay on these here with Films About Human Bloodsports and Death Games.

Lucie Debay as Eve in Hunted (2020)
Lucie Debay as Eve
Arieh Worthalter as The Guy in Hunted (2020)
Arieh Worthalter as The Guy

Hunted places some interesting twists on this. For one, Lucie Debay first meets Arieh Worthalter in a bar after he saves her from a guy hitting on her. She finds herself attracted to Arieh and ends up going off to have sex with him in his car. This is turned on its head when he suddenly abandons interest in her come-ons as another man (Ciaran O’Brien) steps into the car and drives off with her as prisoner.

From there, she makes a survival run through the forest, although this comes with a series of interesting twists – one of which is when Arieh Worthalter drags teenage Ryan Brodie, the son of a woman camper that he kills, in as his accomplice. The film climaxes as Lucie Debay flees into the midst of a group of paintball gamers and then a show home. Another twist has Arieh Worthalter filming everything as a Snuff Movie, while viewing other such films in the midst of hunting her.

Another unusual touch is the framing story where Simone Milsdochter sits around a campfire telling Ryan Brodie the story of a girl who was saved by the wolves of the forest. (Both Milsdochter and Brodie turn up as the grandmother (?) and grandson who are encountered later in the film). This gives an interesting mythic overshadowing to what is otherwise a mundane psycho film. Later this is echoed we see Lucie Debay out wearing a red hoodie, which gives undeniable association to Little Red Riding Hood – you can easily see the roughshod and unshaven Arieh Worthalter as the equivalent of the wolf, even if this is a reimagining where Little Red Riding Hood becomes a far more proactive character.


Trailer here


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