Friday, 28 April 2017

Review: Hunting Grounds (2015)

Stars: Bill Oberst Jr, D'Angelo Midili

Budget: Can't find, guessing very little

Directed By: John Portanova

Ok so i was sent this as a screener to review
It was originally called something different to this
it was rerelease this year of an older 2015 film
called Valley of the Sasquatch.

It stars THN friend Bill Oberst Jr and even though I wasn't sent it nor could i find it, this movie was probably filmed on a shoestring budget. Seriously i'm guessing the sasquatch costumes probably took up most of the budget.

So yeah, budget wise this b-movie suffers from all the usual tropes. Excessesively long chats in one or two locations that are constantly reused over and over again to pad out a 90 minute (or there about) run time.

Bill is a trooper and so loyal to the indie scene, he is a spectacular actor way below his pay grade, but i love that he loves and keeps coming back to film in movies like this and i'm talking on average 3-4 films a year! On with the movie:

First off we see b-movie veteran Bill alone in the woods, he comes across a camp where he finds a dead man, he is then seemingly killed also.
Cut to a town where a young man (Micheal) and his dad (Roger) have fallen on bad times after the wife/mother has died and they are having to move out of town to a small cabin in the woods. This sets them up having no mobile phones etc (nice little trick there to keep them isolated) the dad seems a little overly harsh. Especially when he says about the mobile phones not being essential but then buys lots of beer, it's obvious here he's got a bit of a problem.

When they reach the cabin they see it's been ransacked with the door busted open and all it's furniture messed up yet not broken or stolen. Dad then explains as they are tidying and fixing the place up that uncle Will and Sergio (Dad's friend) are coming for a visit. This further alienates Micheal as he seemingly doesn't like Sergio (for good reason too) When they both come Sergio is indeed a massive dick to Mike any opportunity he can get. Will however (who seems really young looking to be an uncle to someone Micheal's age) seems to be a very good influence.

Will comments on a meteor shower that's happening that night, sure enough Sergio acts like a dick and Micheal leaves in a huff. Will joins him later and they have a chat while the meteor shower goes on above them. Will explains that Micheal's mother was a good influence on his father she was the one stopping him from becoming the bum he's currently turning into.
He also offers Micheal a college fund as his gym's are doing well and he's even opened a second one due to this. Micheal is ecstatic at this but worried about his dad, Will assures him he'll deal with his dad when the time comes. Both happy they leave the roof and return to the cabin.

Sergio is once again a dick towards Micheal making him sleep out on the couch while he takes the boys bedroom. In the morning he is rudely awoken by the others and forced to go on a hunting trip with them, here Sergio and his father force Micheal to shoot a deer. He misses and Sergio and his father scold him for being so being so useless they then carry on hiking.
Sergio starts to get tired as well as agitated at all the walking and nothing happening, then he see's something he thinks is a creature. He gets scared and wants to go back to the cabin, they say about camping outside this alienates both Sergio and Micheal.
It's then they get jumped by the Sasquatch and Micheal's dad gets dragged off by one of them. Sergio forces the other two to go back to the cabin, in a ruckus Sergio stabs Will to death and gets Micheal to move his corpse to the bedroom out of his sight.

Her good old Jr pops back in he's been able to escape from the Sasquatch after being kidnapped by them, he caves in one of their heads. They knock out Sergio and go on the defensive, Micheal's dad also makes it back with a damaged leg. The Sasquatches start to attack the cabin and they all make an effort to escape but Micheal's dad drops the car keys.
Poor old Bill's character is captured and gets both his arms ripped off by the creatures so Micheal and his dad hide back in the cabin. Sergio awakes and Roger finds out from Micheal that he killed his brother, he seems to take it quite well. That is until they formulate an escape plan and then Roger bungs Sergio into the midst of the Sasquatches so they can escape.

There's not much left of this film so I won't spoil the ending it's not quite that bad enough to spoil, almost but not quite. Bill here is one of the saving graces, despite a short screen time his character is great, the film however is quite bunk and suffers from to many of the tropes that make b-movies bad.
Will dies so now whats going to happen to Micheal?
To much blah, blah in one spot meaning it can get very boring to have scene after scene.
A boring pointless plot and Sergio is a guy who just needs to die and no one, surely no one is that much of a dick to someones kid before the father would do something surely?
Aside from that the Sasquatch effects are great and Will being one of the stronger characters of the film is very well acted. These pluses minuses drive THN to give Hunting Grounds an unfortunate 2 stars out of 5 worth watching if there's really nothing else around or on at that point.

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