#296 -- Hunger (2009)

Director: Steven Hentges
Rating: 3 / 5

This is one of those times where, after surfing through Netflix for a while, I just got tired of looking. I settled on Hunger because the plot seemed interesting, and I had sort of an idea of how it would go, and I liked what I had playing out in my head. It was pretty predictable, but it didn't turn out the way I was hoping that it would. However, it wasn't a complete disappointment.

It started off with five people waking up in a dark room, oblivious to how they got there or why. The characters were fairly bland, but they did have enough personality to become at least a little bit likable. Jordan was the main character, and clearly the most intelligent and rational of the bunch. Grant, who became Jordan's biggest ally, was also pretty rational and competent. Luke was unstable from the get-go and it was completely obvious that he would be the first to unravel. Anna seemed extremely weak to begin with, but she ended up surprising everyone by turning into a psychotic bitch. There was a little distrust between them at first, but they soon realized that they'd have to work together if they wanted to get out alive. They searched for an exit for a while, until they found a little bricked-in doorway. The man who imprisoned them gave them two gifts: a carving knife and four giant barrels full of water. They also had a little make-shift toilet, which I'm sure they were very thankful for after a while. They also got a not that said something along the lines of "the human body can only survive for thirty days without food." So, now we've got our motive -- sort of. His very basic motive is to see how long they can survive without food, but there's actually more to it than that. I'm sure you  could tell where it was going from the beginning, and if you couldn't, the carving knife should have surely given it away. He wants to see just how long it will take them to resort to cannibalism, and which of them will unravel to the point of resorting to such measures.

The man's real motive was a little more complex than all of that, though it really wasn't all that interesting. We're shown at the beginning that he was in a terrible car accident when he was a child. It left his mother dead beside him, and he was trapped in the car for several weeks. He had to eat parts of his own mother. So I guess he wanted to see if other people would do the same, so he didn't feel so guilty. It never really expanded on that, as he was left unnamed and completely vague. The flashback was the only little bit of back story we got on him. All the time, we see him sitting in a cozy office watching these people on cameras. He had what I believe was a microphone sitting in front of him, so I really hoped that he was going to start talking to them eventually, but he never said a word throughout the entire movie. I think this would have made things even more frightening for the captives, as they'd have a voice to put to the person behind their imprisonment. They'd have something solid to place the blame on. Also, I feel like it would have made things a whole hell of a lot more interesting. They were pawns in his twisted game, and I feel like he should have played with them a little more, rather than leaving them alone to play with each other. Their interactions with one another were interesting, and watching each of their inevitable mental breakdowns was definitely engaging. But I wanted more.

Though I had a couple of problems with it, I felt that the story was fully developed, and that it made the point it was trying to make. Visually, the movie was good. There wasn't a lot of gore, as you'd expect from something like this. It wasn't purely about the cannibalism; it was mostly about the disintegration of the captives' mental states, and it focused more so on that than the blood and guts. The couple of scenes that showed some gore did look good, as well. Overall, it's actually very good movie, though it's more of a psychological thriller than a horror. There's nothing scary about it for viewers; but it looks into the human psyche, and just how far people will go to ensure their own survival. Though it didn't play out the way that I hoped, that's purely a personal opinion. It didn't really hurt the value of the movie, and I still found it interesting. It's not a mind-blowing feat in film-making; it's not a 100% incredible horror movie. But it's an interesting and disturbing movie that doesn't fail to entertain.

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