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climate of the hunter

Movie Reviews

What ‘Climate of the Hunter’ teaches us about horror throwbacks

Paying tribute in its own way.

Climate of the Hunter is another horror movie that is unafraid to show off its influences. This is common in the genre as many films like to pay homage to the ones that came before them. This usually takes the form of comedy, but it is also seen through differing takes on popular tropes. More often than not, it leads to watered down imitations.

Director Mickey Reece brings laughs to his film and there are some tropes to be found, but there is much more. Climate of the Hunter is something of a throwback, but it resides in a world of its own. The film’s has a washed out look that will take audiences back to another decade. While there are not the lavish set pieces Hammer Films are known for, the costume design also brings a familiar, yet original aesthetic to Climate of the Hunter.

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It is in the camerawork that the movie most seems like it is from another era. There are sudden zooms that are reminiscent of 1970s horror films. The lighting will also remind long time horror fans of old favorites. Climate of the Hunter is filled with little moments like these. This attention to detail is what gives the movie its classic look. 

Climate of the Hunter’s plot is also from a past decade. The story is about sisters Alma (Ginger Gilmartin) and Elizabeth (Mary Buss). The two meet at Alma’s cabin home to meet with a childhood friend, Wesley. Unbeknown to them, he may be a vampire. There is the intrigue, eroticism, and tension that is normally found in this type of story.

Wesley is charming, worldly, and able to effortlessly win over any woman he talks to. His scenes are often accompanied with dramatic music. Alma and Elizabeth initially vie for her attention before one of them becomes suspicious. There is even the untrusting neighbor who no one takes serious.  It seems like audiences are getting a classic vampire tale.

Where Climate of the Hunter differs is in its willingness to laugh. The movie is darkly comedic with snappy one liners and a philosophical dog. There are odd dishes (hot dog an potato soup?!?) and a cheesy narrator that introduces sections of the movie. It sounds like it should be too silly to work. Instead, these moments add levity to a moody and erotic movie.

It all adds up to a film that manages to masterfully straddle the line between loving homage and fresh take. Like the best movies, it presents audiences with recognizable situations while exploring new scenarios. Climate of the Hunter is a smart tribute that shows it is possible to showcase a love for earlier works without being derivative. 

Climate of the Hunter is in limited theatrical release and comes to On Demand & digital January 12

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