Hunted ★★★★

Most moviegoers don't see that many movies like Hunted, but if you go to genre festivals or spend a lot of time digging through your favorite streaming services to find the new selections, it gets categorized: Survival horror, nature, woman on the run, etc. What makes one of those stand out? A couple good performances. Some visual style. And a willingness to go kind of crazy at the point where the audience might be expecting the filmmakers to coast.

It starts in familiar-enough fashion - a fairy tale allusion, a woman frustrated at work who goes out to a bar to blow off some steam, and a guy who initially seems nice enough but shows his true colors quickly. Soon enough Eve (Lucie Debay) is stuffed in a trunk, but able to flee her kidnappers (Arieh Worthalter & Ciaran O'Brien) thanks to a freak accident. They are never that far behind, though the woods are full of surprises.

Writer/director Vincent Paronnaud is likely best-known internationally as Marjane Satrapi's collaborator on the film version of Persepolis, and he's spent much of the rest of his career in comics and animation, so it's not exactly a surprise when the bit before the opening title includes a nifty bit of animation that is nevertheless well-enough matched to the rest of the movie that it doesn't feel like it doesn't belong. It's quickly contrasted with a moment or two of grainy-video shot in less than great lighting, and that's a bit of a preview of what's going to happen throughout the movie: Every time Eve is able to put a little bit of distance between herself and her pursuers, the forest scene takes on a bit of a fairy-tale quality, albeit as much Grimm as Disney, while there's a flatness to the guys' scenes, maybe a slight washing-out, like they're living in the violent constructed fantasy meant to be captured on camera.

Full review at eFilmCritic: