Sam and Ian are a couple that while trying to escape the chaotic life in city, decide to camp in a remote lake for the weekend, a place found by recommendation from a local stranger. To their surprise, when the couple arrive at the lake they see that they are not the only ones at the camp, since there is a tent near the lake’s shore, although they can not see the owners. Assuming that the other campers could be hiking in the woods, the couple decide not to think much about it and enjoy the peace and quiet.
After a relatively calm night, Sam and Ian start to feel uneasy by the absence of their neighbors and decide to look around their camp, finding the place trashed, and later finding a small boy clearly hungry and dehydrated. Convinced that the child’s parents could be hurt or worse, the couple try to go for help, but find their car with a flat tire and that their cell phones have no signal. That’s when a local hunter arrives at the camp offering his help, and as you might expect, this is just the beginning of the problems for Ian and Sam.
OK, I am sure that the previous synopsis will make “Hunting Ground” sound like another film of a million out there about tourists sent to the slaughterhouse, but let me tell you, this film has a several things that felt fresh and can make it stand out from others, and while I will try to not get into spoiler territory, I will explain why you should definitely give “Hunting Ground” a chance.
While we could guess where the story might go to, the film has the twist that this is not only the story of Ian and Sam dealing with TWO psychopath hunters and fighting for their lives. Using a narrative that at first glance might look broken and disconnected, we end up meeting the lost owners of the other camp mentioned before, their fate at the hand of the maniacs, and how the main couple have arrived, without knowing, to the hunters actual territories. I rather not say more, so you can enjoy the ride.
The films is very violent, and although it never gets to be as graphic as “The last house on the left”. It has several moments that I am sure will make uneasy a lot of the audience, there are also some nudity and bloody scenes. All this mentioned before is balanced with some other scenes than can make you squirm without relying on cheap jump scares, but with just focusing the camera in a certain spot that might seems random, and then little by little starting to make sense and let the audience know what is really going on, even before the characters realize, therefore making us worry about them, specially since in this film all the characters are a potential corpse, no matter the gender… Or age.
…All of them.
“Killing Ground” was written and directed by Damien Power, being this his first feature film, in the cast (delivering very good performances, by the way) we have Harriet Dyer, Ian Meadows, Tiarne Coupland, Aaron Pedersen and Aaron Glenane.
This film, if you want to check it out (And you should), not only was presented at the Fantasia International Film Festival 2017, is also already available on VOD via IFC Midnight.
Fantasia Film Festival is on its 21th edition, and has always been know for showing some of the best films in the Fantasy, Horror and Sci-Fi genres, currently running thru August 3rd. You can visit their official website to see more of the great material they are showing this year, and follow them in social media.