A female-driven crowdpleaser that was quickly acquired by Shudder ahead of Fantasia 2020.
Lucie Debay stars as Eve, a stressed out real estate executive who is working late one night and needs to take a load off. She leaves her phone at home and heads out for a drink, instantly attracting the attention of two men at the back of the bar. She hits it off with one of them (Arieh Worthalter) and the pair end up in the backseat of his car, making out. It doesn't take long for his accomplice (Ciaran O'Brien) to show up and pretty soon, Eve is bound and unconscious in the trunk.
Despite its Belgian roots, "Hunted" is entirely in English which is a nice treat. I have to be honest, the first few minutes of this film are a little weird and I wasn't sure if I'd end up liking it. But then the tone changes entirely and it's both scary and compelling thereafter. In hindsight, it was a good reminder not to pre-maturely judge a film, based on how it starts. I tend to do this with Shudder releases and it's a bad habit of mine.
Directed by Vincent Paronnaud and written by Léa Pernollet, "Hunted" is much more than a shallow survival thriller. Somewhere, amidst the blood splattered Belgian foliage, are some pretty powerful messages about gender stereotypes and would-be predators. The rate at which Arieh Worthalter goes from warm and charming guy at the bar to ice-cold psychopath hunting Lucie Debay down in the woods is pretty startling.