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Thursday, January 20, 2022

[Review] With Grim Atmosphere and Bloody Violence, ‘Warhunt’ Is a Killer Horror-Action Flick

It’s 1945, and an American military plane soars over Germany’s Black Forest. One of the plane’s engines becomes destroyed by an extreme amount of crow feathers, causing the craft to plummet to the ground. Sergeant Brewer (Robert Knepper) and his outfit are charged with the task of finding the plane’s crash site; accompanying them by order of Major Johnson (Mickey Rourke) is Walsh (Jackson Rathbone), who is given orders to recover a secret item the other outfit was transporting.

As Brewer’s men head deeper into the forest, however, they will come to find that Nazis are not their only major threat in these woods, but also that of a supernatural enemy.

World War 2 stories with a supernatural or science fiction spin aren’t that rare to come by, but Warhunt’s take on supernatural-action horror is an excellent venture into madness. Directed by Mauro Borrelli, written by Borrelli, Reggie Keyohara III, and Scott Svatos, Warhunt unravels into psychological and violent chaos; as the military outfit go deeper into the forest, the more their minds become warped. Through strong writing, the film displays effective pacing in delivering action and plot detail. We get brief glimpses of supernatural happenings with no context, these moments making for great surprise and prompting intrigue as to just what the hell is happening. A black mist appears at times, almost as if it is taking the shape of something. It isn’t until much later that the film becomes more explicit regarding the evil trailing the group.

Trust me when I say there is a Predator-like quality to Warhunt in how the supernatural enemies loom over their prey.

Though there are Nazis to fight off, they take up smaller screen time compared to that of the supernatural evil. Even with killer shoot outs that take place, it is the grim aura and suspense of Warhunt that stands out most. There is a good consistency to action beats throughout the narrative; they may not be full of blazing guns, but in how the supernatural evil works to psychologically mess with the military men, things get both gruesome and violent. The camera work and sound design allude to little details and keep the characters (and by extension the audience) in the dark, establishing a consistent haunting tone, and the feeling that something horrible is always nearby.

The performances are solid across the board. Stand outs are that of Knepper and Rourke, who both lean in on charisma (even if Rourke is under utilized for a lot of the movie). Rathbone makes for a bad ass who also gets the audience to question further what is going on. Why is this random guy joining the outfit so skilled? What does he keep writing down? His secrecy is a cool way to not only help get the viewer invested in the mystique of the story, but also make him a fun character to follow.

Warhunt may be among many other titles that lean into a fantastical World War 2 story, but damn is it a compelling one. With excellent atmospheric tone and gripping suspense, Warhunt is a kick ass supernatural action horror that delivers chills and blood rushing intensity.

Warhunt is coming to VOD outlets on Friday, January 21.


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