This is one pitch black semi-comedy/semi-horror film. It’s hard to place it in a genre, but there are definitely elements at play such that it surely has a place here at AICN HORROR. A medieval reenactment camp is the setting for a drama between a young man and woman played by the equally talented Ricky Mabe (Erik) and Kaneihtiio Horn (who plays the object of the entire camp’s desire, Lyn, and rightly so). Needing some space, Lyn escapes to the camp and immerses herself in a culture of role-players who take living in the primitive society a little too seriously. Erik (a non-player) follows and is more than a little weirded out by it all, but Erik is familiar with the culture because his older brother Bjorn (played by writer Mark Anthony Krupa) has left home to live at the camp. Bjorn carries around a sledgehammer that he has dubbed Mjolnir and swaggers through the camp as the fearsome berserker. Tensions at the camp are already high between the Celts lead by Shaman Murtagh (Trevor Hayes) and the royalty of the camp, King Argyle, played by the hilariously assy Nicolas Wright. When Erik storms through camp in search of his girl and refusing to play, things get real real quick, and soon the camp turns into a really real war zone. Really.
As ridiculous as this case sounds, things are played pretty straight and aside from a couple of beats in the first half hour, the culture of medieval role play is not something that’s scoffed at. Reminiscent of the Tom Hanks made-for-TV film MAZES AND MONSTERS, about a young kid wrapped up too much in a Dungeons & Dragons-like roleplaying game that turns deadly, THE WILD HUNT was surprisingly chilling–especially the surreal ending as the camp in engulfed in flames and fury as the true colors of these gamers, both blood red and yellow, show themselves. The weekend warriors completely flip and start acting like real savages. Director Alexandre Franchi makes it all believable as the mob mentality takes over and in actions oft seen in some sporting events, the uglier side of nature proves to be closer to the surface than we’d all imagine.
I highly recommend this slow building film. Sure it’s easy to scoff at. Last year’s Paul Rudd comedy ROLE MODELS did a great job of that. But THE WILD HUNT takes shit seriously and turned out to be quite a chilling tale. With great performances by a cast of relative unknowns, this is one of those little movies that you’re bound to see late at night some time and wonder why you’ve never heard about it. Those who saw THOR in theaters and loved the tragedy and mythology will probably be pleased to see this more sophisticated take on medieval culture and how one can become consumed into a counter culture. This is a chilling modern fable wishing it was set in the Middle Ages.