by Brody Rossiter
Still reeling from the tragic death of his son and the breakup of his marriage, Sheriff Paul Shields finds himself thrown into a deadly hunt with a powerful and evil creature. When a logging company disturbs the habitat of what can only be described as a bloodthirsty beast, the rural town of Maiden Woods is plagued by a series of grisly attacks that claim the lives of livestock and townsfolk.
Sheriff Shields (The Strains’ Kevin Durand) and his “city boy” deputy, Donny (Lukas Haas) are tasked with firstly uncovering what animal could inflict such horrific acts, and secondly, stopping the creature before it decides to wipe out the town in one fell swoop.
As titles go, ‘Monster Hunter’ is far from inspiring. The movie’s original title, ‘Dark Was the Night’ isn’t much better. However, despite an altogether uninspired campaign to make Jack Heller’s picture more accessible to the jump scare generation, the film is a surprisingly nuanced journey alongside a tortured man as he confronts his own sense of worth as both husband, father and protector of his town. Those familiar with Kevin Durand will be aware of his stature as an actor. He’s forceful, physical and ultimately believable, ensuring that a welcome extra dimension of emotional trauma haunts the hunt for beast. The metaphor is not difficult to grasp, but watching Sheriff Shields battle his own demons is still far more fascinating than watching hapless teens caterwauling through the woods.
Bloody, unsettling, and not afraid to throw in a rough and ready bout of action, Monster Hunter is a worthy Halloween flick for those after a modern creature feature. Well-acted, thoughtfully conceived and most importantly, affecting on multiple levels – it’s time you joined the hunt.