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'Hunger' Movie Review

About.com Rating 1 Star Rating

By

'Hunger' movie poster. © Phase 4

The Bottom Line

Overly wrought, drawn-out torture in its own right.

Pros

  • Some decent gore
  • Intriguing premise

Cons

  • Bland storytelling
  • Annoying characters
  • Mediocre acting
  • Too long

Description

  • Starring Linden Ashby, Lori Heuring, Lea Kohl, Joe Egender, Bjorn Johnson
  • Directed by Steven Hentges
  • Rated R by the MPAA for strong bloody violence involving aberrant behavior, grisly images, a scene of sexuality and language.
  • DVD release date: September 28, 2010 (at Blockbuster August 6)

Guide Review - 'Hunger' Movie Review

The Fangoria FrightFest showcases eight independent horror movies that individually might not get the exposure that the Fangoria name brings. One of the films receives a theatrical release (based on a fan vote), and the rest go straight to DVD and video-on-demand.

The Plot

Five strangers awaken in a dark, dingy dungeon with little memory of how they got there. Grant (Linden Ashby) is the bold, take-charge type. Jordan (Lori Heuring), a surgeon, is the group's moral compass. The younger Anna (Lea Kohl) is frightened and willing to do anything to survive. Luke (Joe Egender) is a hotheaded kid who's only looking out for himself. Alex (Julian Rojas) is a timid outsider on the verge of breaking down.

In an adjoining room are several barrels of water. When a disembodied voice informs them that the average person cannot survive for 30 days without food, they realize to their horror what their captor wants them to do. As days go by and attempts to escape prove futile, the unthinkable becomes a distinct possibility. But will they become desperate enough to eat someone, and who will it be? All the while, a curious observer (Bjorn Johnson) watches their every move.

The End Result

I have a theory that the people who made Hunger wanted to make it such a tedious experience that viewers would truly feel what it's like to be trapped in a dungeon for 30-plus days. The general concept has some promise, but the plot just sits there like, well, a starving person rotting in a dungeon. There are few twists, plot elements are introduced and dropped, we have to suffer through agonizing stretches of inactivity in which their only attempt escape is a feeble scratching at the bricks in the wall, and the "big reveal" of the captors motivation is laughably simplistic and ridiculous.

The direction generates little fear or urgency, and the amateurish acting doesn't help. I never believed for a second that any one of them was starving. What should be a soul-searching, life-altering decision -- whether or not to kill and eat someone -- is treated like they're picking teams for kickball. It ends up playing like an episode of Survivor with cannibalism.

And really, we don't even care who "wins." The characters are all unlikable -- if for no other reason than their weak attempts to escape and "woe is me" whining. The redheaded observer might be the most annoying of all, spending the entire movie smugly scribbling notes, smiling like, "I knew this would happen." If only he knew how painful this movie is.

The Skinny

  • Acting: D+ (If the cast isn't yelling and overacting, they're mumbling and underacting.)
  • Direction: D+ (Drab and emotionless.)
  • Script: F (Straightforward and unimaginative with annoying characters.)
  • Gore/Effects: C (Modest level of fleeting gore.)
  • Overall: D
Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the distributor. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.

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