You would have thought that after the brilliance that was “Troll Hunter”, that it would have caused an explosion of new content in the monster genre. But strangely that hasn’t been the case. But will “Monster Hunter” be the redeemer?
Also known as “Dark was the Night”, it follows a Sheriff and his new Depute in the small town of Maiden Woods. Recent unexplainable occurrences have the townspeople very anxious, and while the Sheriff wants to suspect pranksters, some think it connects with a slew of terrible murders long ago. Either way, they know that “something” is lurking in the woods, and must be stopped if the town is to survive.
Now, from the synopsis it looks like this is indeed setting up a Monster/Horror/Mystery film. Except you wouldn’t think that if you rented or purchased this because… look at that cover art. The monster takes up nearly two thirds of the space, so it’s given away before you even hit the Play button. The advertisers clearly had very different ideas of what this movie was about. Because for the majority of the running time you get the mystery of what is causing the strange events, some tension, and lots of drama. I mean, it is completely fooling to audiences, just look at that fucking cover!!!
I’m sorry guys, but that was a major pet peeve of mine once the film had ended, and if you have seen it, you will have felt that same way too. I’ll cut to the chase in order to explain this – there are about three, just THREE sequences with the monster that aren’t blurred, out of focus, or hinted at. That’s it. Two teases and the finale. It is a massive let down because as I hinted at, if the monster was in the background of the cover, it would have been more of a mystery. But instead, you wait nearly 80% of the running time to see the reveal you already saw.
So, besides that giant fuck-up, what else does this film have to offer? Well, you have the main story of the Sheriff and his partner investigating into the strange occurrences, the side plot of the Sheriff blaming himself for the death of his son which happened a few years ago. And the even more minor side plot of the Depute moving from the city to the small town of Maiden Woods. There are times when the Sheriff’s anguish does come through in a genuine way, but it is under-developed and the movie even digs plot holes for itself on the matter. Such as him saying he keeps seeing his son, when we saw this happen about once. The townspeople are the typical cast of stereotypes from the aboard drunkards, to the hot girl who looks like she shouldn’t be there. I will say that the location itself looks very good, the woods are intimidating in the night time shots, and yield the few good shots the film can offer. The one with the Sheriff standing in front of his car, the headlights blazing on the road, completely surrounded by darkness, looks great.
The finale with the monster is the usual scenario with the town barricading themselves in the Church, and the protagonist going out to take down the monster himself. The brief moment where you can take a moment to see the monster’s design… it does look cool. The effects are nice for sure. But except for a previous scene with a foot shown, that’s all you get.
And sadly, that major issue keeps infecting my thoughts on the film as a whole, like a parasite in the brain. The movie incorrectly sells you on what it is supposed to be, and even the film that it is being, ends up underwhelming to the point of boredom. There’s so little on offer here for you to to acknowledge or enjoy, the pacing is slower than dragging a couch up a flight of stairs, and the payoff at the end is far too little,far too late.
“Monster Hunter”, with more money in its pocket and a better idea of what it is supposed to achieve, could be a cool little film. Anything based on Horror Mythology has the potential to succeed, but too often become a muddled mess of confusion. This is one to avoid to be honest, there is very little available for you to get from it.
Thanks for reading!