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Hunting Grounds

Plot

In this future, nature is restricted and virtual games now provide both the landscapes and the hunting grounds. A group of hunters will make it outside for a traditional hunt.

Release Year: 2008

Rating: 2.9/10 (205 voted)

Director:
Eric Bilodeau

Stars: Patrice LeBlanc, Patrick Baby, Marie-Ève Lemire

Storyline
In the future, nature is restricted and virtual games provide both the landscapes and the hunting grounds. A group of hunters will make it outside for a traditional hunt. Little do they know about what awaits them in the wild and how it will inevitably affect them. Set in the beautiful Canadian wilderness, in the French speaking province of Quebec, prepare to see a future, not so far from ours, where reality is somewhat more complex and intricate since the virtual world has reached an unprecedented level of reality that can easily fool your senses.

Writers: Eric Bilodeau, Jonathan Gagné

Cast:

Patrice LeBlanc

Paul Austin


Patrick Baby

Simon Roy


Marie-Ève Lemire

Lexa Monroe


Émilie Gilbert-Gagnon

Aria Palmer


Valérie Tremblay

Francine Hudon


Luc Rivard

Sébastien Mathieu


Louis Amiot

Conrad Mathieu


Sébastien Bouchard

Jonathan


Jean-Sébastien Boudreault

Max Hatthaway


Luc Cantin

Soldier #1


Jean-Eudes Dallaire

Gen. Georges Gray


Jean-François Déry

Commodore


Marie-Élaine Fortin

Lt. Michelle Mason


Tommy Gervais

Gate Soldier


Dave Harvey

Col. Jay Adams

Taglines:
Trust your instincts…



Details

Official Website:
Official site |

Release Date: 3 Jan 2008

Filming Locations: Québec, Canada



Box Office Details

Budget: $CAD20,000

(estimated)



Technical Specs

Runtime:



User Review

Hunting Grounds covers too much ground for its budget

Rating: 4/10


In the near future, our planet is more and more depleted from its
resources and over 90% of humanity is confined to urban areas,
condemned to never see nature. Worse, more and more people rely on
virtual reality (here called the alternet) to communicate or "visit"
each others through holographic representations. Tired of experiencing
nature through virtual games only, a group of friends decide to break
free from the city and go on a real-life hunting trip along with a
tracker. Unfortunately for them, this trip becomes more dangerous than
they ever expected…

After watching this very ambitious independent sci-fi/horror film, I
have mixed feelings. As written on my IMDb profile, I rate movies based
on how good and entertaining they are, with no consideration for their
budget. On the other hand, I must still take space here to commend the
crew for doing rather well under difficult conditions.

Let's start with some positives:

The main plot is interesting. It is obvious to me that Bilodeau and
Gagné knew the tropes of the genres well. There are definite nods to
Romera-era films and the themes that were explored there. Zombies are
not the main threat here, nor the main culprits; man is. It is the
nature of men that we must be afraid of.

On the sci-fi front, we are firmly in the sub genres of cyberpunk,
transhumanism. This is a dystopian world where many people have almost
completely ceased actual in-the-flesh contact with each others. The
Alternet subplot, along with the weird experiment turning wrong all
underline social commentaries regarding our increasing reliance on
artifices to live our lives.

A world is nothing without characters. Our writers give us five main
characters and I must say I was impressed by how well they all filled a
particular niche. Many of them again highlight all the social
commentary Bilodeau is aiming for, although in some cases it is fairly
awkward.

The movie has an incredibly large scope. You get weird compound shots,
rather elaborate complexes and rooms, transportation. Lots of outdoor
filming, blue screens. Digital effects and old school effects mixed
together, action scenes… this isn't an indie film taking place in a
condo. This is an attempt at making a Hollywood-scope movie on 20
grands.

And the final positive: a few of the scenes are rather creative ideas.
Particularly the "zombie boss" as I will call it in order not to spoil
the film.

Now the negatives:

First and foremost, the budget shows everywhere. Bilodeau attempts so
much in the movie, that he doesn't succeed very often.

The world is nicely represented everywhere but most of it is obviously
fake. You can't ever forget the effects or blue screens. I wish
Bilodeau had concentrated efforts on finding few film locations, but
BETTER locations instead.

The camera-work, the cinematography displayed… it's rather weak.
Ditto for the editing, which severely hampers the whole movie and
particularly the action sequences. The film score is overly dramatic at
times, and completely flat at others. In short, as far as directing
films, I'm not sure Bilodeau can quite do it. There were times when you
could see it wasn't a matter of budget but of skills.

Although the backstory is nice, the actual plot, how the story unfolds
is rather weak. Same thing for the characters which I praised. The five
main characters are well-defined but character development is weak.
Characterization is also weak and having complete amateurs follow a
rigid script (no improv lines here) in a foreign language (most of
these actors are obviously French Canadians) does not help.

There are times where you cannot understand what they say at all
because the accent is so thick.

In short, Bilodeau makes me marvel with how MUCH he did with $20000.
There are countless speaking roles, lots of extras, many action scenes.
It's a story that Hollywood wouldn't shoot under 70 millions. And as
far as smaller or foreign productions go, it would certainly require
20-30 millions at least to be done "right".

Bilodeau shows ingenuity to try to make up for lack of funds, but the
low budget shows too much. I also applaud the intent of making a
serious movie (this isn't one of those horror comedies) but again, very
tough with a large scope and amateur actors reciting lines.

Recommendations:

1-A MUST if you are any kind of amateur filmmaker looking to make
ambitious stuff on a budget 2-Worth a look if you appreciate the genres
listed 3-Worth a look if you like gonzo stuff or a "so bad it's good"
movie