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Cinematic rethinks of classic fairytales, especially Red Riding Hood, are a micro-genre about as exasperating and banal as the “year X called and it wants its Y back” joke. In Hunted’s case insert, 1985 for X and “postmodern feminist trope” for Y. Nevertheless, this uncomfortable but adroitly executed horror version in which a young woman is chased through the woods by toxic male monsters is pretty good stuff: unnerving in the right ways and flecked with colourful, unexpected specks of wit.
In what presumably must be rural Ireland given most of the supporting characters’ accents, Eve (Lucie Debay, feral and fierce) is a bit of an outsider, a French woman stuck in the middle of nowhere supervising the construction of a housing estate. A chance visit to a local bar brings her into the orbit of a charming, vulpine-featured nameless stranger who sounds American but is actually played by the French actor Arieh Worthalter. After he saves her from the aggressive attentions of another guy (Ciaran O’Brien), Eve lets down her guard only to find herself kidnapped by a psychotic, sadistic misogynist. Even worse, he’s a psychotic sadistic misogynist with a movie camera, and we all know how evil they are.
From there on out, the rest of film is the narrative slap and tickle of escape-recapture as Eve, dressed in red duffel coat, tries to get away. She is in an ancient, soggy forest where there are a few other characters wandering around, ready to fill the roles of grandma and woodsman. But director Vincent Paronnaud, working from a script he co-wrote with Léa Pernollet and David H Pickering, adds a few kinks that divert the story from the tracks laid down by the fairytale origins.
Thankfully, we only see glimpses of the footage of tortured women on the hideously believable nemesis’s camera, so ultimately the movie – just about – feels more like a critique of the character’s woman-hating mindset rather than a vehicle for it.
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Hunted review – Red Riding Hood reboot is a nifty, nasty trip into the woods | Film