Written & Directed by Zach Zeman
Starring Noah Schindler, Ryan Sliwinski, Mason Taylor, Rieves Bowers, Jake Dogias, Marisa Roper
Indie Film Review by Taryll Baker
Satirical mockumentaries are a hard subject to tackle, but Zach Zeman’s Hunters’ Crossing manages to capture the brilliance of such a genre and creates some of the most ridiculous characters you’ll see on-screen.
We’re first introduced to the inexperienced hunter, Hank Williams (Noah Schindler) who claims to have been hunting for many years of his life, but very quickly we’re shown differently. Within the first few minutes we know what kind of tone the film will have throughout; flimsy, cooky, unimaginably dumb characters - and I love it. Noah’s performance is totally subtle with enough depth to imagine a past that has lead to this change in his life. His chemistry with Rieves Bowers (playing Trevor Farleys) is simply brilliant, they’re both complete idiots and it really works for the film. The owner of the cabin the hunters are invited to hold up in, Willis Hampton (Mason Taylor) is supposedly fifty but looks mid-twenties. It’s these kind of details that I find hilarious in Hunters’ Crossing.
The story is pretty cliché for the most part, but much like the parodies in Wet Hot American Summer, the director plays on this and creates a strange viewing experience that is somehow entertaining. I liked how the story is broken up into separate sections, it felt like watching a Tarantino flick but without the over-the-top writing and high budget. Not much else can be said about the story itself; it’s really fun and quirky, and manages to hold your attention throughout.
If I were to criticise one thing about the casting, it would be Marisa Roper’s character of Samantha Burd; she seemed a little uncomfortable in the role. Everyone around her felt perfect within the narrative but her character just didn’t work for me. This doesn’t affect the film in a drastic way, however, so I was able to look past it. Zeman’s cinematography (if you could call it that within the genre) is perfect. Zooming in on characters’ faces to show a visual sense of comedy; much like in The Office (both original and US). The editing, also by Zeman, was suitable and flowed pretty well. Technically, I couldn’t really pick out anything that bothered me. Even the rough audio felt natural due to the documentary feel. There's one thing that felt a little jarring and that was the use of MacLeod's music in some scenes. Other than that, it was an effortless viewing experience.
It's quite evident in the performances that everyone involved is having a blast creating this strange world, and that's something I always look out for in a film. Seeing the cast and crew enjoy what they're bringing to life is a big plus for me. Hunters’ Crossing isn’t a cinematic masterpiece (it may be disasterpiece) but it is one very strange and entertaining film nonetheless.