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WARHUNT (2022)

Directed by Mauro Borrelli.
Written by Mauro Borrelli, Reggie YEyohara III, Scott Svatos.
Starring Mickey Rourke, Jackson Rathbone, Robert Knepper, Polina Pushkareva, Lou Stassen, Fredrik Wagner, Anna Paliga, Josh Burdett, Alex Mills, Tom J. Benedict, Ben McKeown, Timo Willman, Elliott Wooster, Christopher Hunter, Rihards Lepers, Ieva Seglina, Matt Mella, Lorenzo de Moor!

A weary group of soldiers stationed in Germany towards the end of World War II are lead by the battle-damaged Major Johnson (yes, that really is the name given to Mickey Rourke’s character) and team leader Sergeant Brewer (Robert Knepper). The soldiers are given an assignment to take a soldier named Walsh (Jackson Rathbone) deep into a German forest to recover a top secret thingie, but after acquiring this object, the men find themselves under siege by a coven of witches.

WARHUNT is more fun that it should be. It’s got a performance by Mickey Rourke that is heavy on the ham. It’s a relatively familiar concept. And it plays into a garbled mess by the end, but dammit if I wasn’t endeared by this film simply because of how nuts it is.

Mickey Rourke is on another level of acting these days. While his face has become almost unrecognizable, he delivers a unique performance here as the strange Major Johnson. Like some kind of swarthy Nick Fury, Rourke brandishes an eyepatch and seems to have battled these witches before, leaving him a groaning, battered man. Say what you will about the actor, but he sure does make an impression when onscreen. And it’s always interesting to me.

I also really liked the insane effects and horror sequences that go on throughout WARHUNT. While the typical paranoia and deterioration of sanity goes on with the troop as they get further and further into the forest, the carnage that is left by these witches as they pick the soldiers off one by one is quite gruesome. There’s an especially pig roast scene that’ll make your toes curl and another where a soldier acting not quite right is revealed to be stuffed with black feathers. The witches themselves are designed distinctly as well.

WARHUNT is one of those films that straddles the line separating war stories and horror fables well. The soldiers feel legit and react to the horror in a typical, but entertaining way. And that horror potently plays against the war-torn backdrop with some fantastically filmed captures of thickly forested scenery. It’s a fun film. Better than I was expecting. It’s schlocky and predictable, but still managed to surprise me with it’s over the top performances and memorable effects.

WARHUNT is not blazing new territory. It reminded me a bit of SOUTHERN COMFORT as it features a team of soldiers as fish definitely out of their depth. Rourke’s performance is horribly hammy, but a blast to watch. All in all, a good old time can be had with this one.

Check out the trailer here!!