Directed by: Zach Zeman
Written by: Zach Zeman
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Almost two decades ago, "The Blair Witch Project" shocked the world using nothing more than a few cheap cameras, and a very young internet hungry for something cool to come along and grab them. We weren't yet utterly exhausted with the concept of found-footage filmmaking, and "Blair Witch" was a truly new, viral concept. That time has passed. You can't ring the same bell twice. Or in this particular case, countless times over and over. For the majority of movie goers today, ninety percent of found footage movies feel cheap and lazy. With technology the way it is now, you can't just hit the record button on your closest device and call yourself a filmmaker; it's like inflating the tires on your car and calling yourself a mechanic. Exceptions always exist, but not generally when talking independent, low budget film. The indie filmmaker needs to strive for more. Now that the tech is cheap.
Hank Williams (Noah Schindler) is obsessed with hunting. Yes. You did read that correctly. Hank was named after the country western star it seems. After a brief introduction a-la documentary stylings, Hank enters a local hunting competition and thus begins the story of "Hunters' Crossing" for it's would-be audience. There he meets his new best friend Trevor (Rieves Bowers) and an entire crew of strange, unusual characters. There are also sub-plots here, including Bigfoot, a crazy forest dwelling hunter, and even one revolving around water poisoning. The real story of "Hunters' Crossing" however, is a buddy story of sorts. Although a brief and weird one.
The real problems with this title come from the "laid back" way it was produced. Everyone loves working on a "fun" project - but seriously, it's really hard for the audience to get into the swing of things when everything just feels cheap. I'm not writing that this film is a joke, not by any means. Any completed indie film, with a start, middle and end deserves to be praised. This is a full length movie, not a short film. Simply finishing a full project deserves a certain amount of congrats. Yet it feels like the cast and crew didn't take "Hunters' Crossing" even a little bit seriously. If they can't do it, why should we? The found footage aspect simply doesn't work here. Does it ever any more? Even the casting is so crazy that the audience will have trouble finding anything to grasp onto. Why on earth would you have teenagers portraying fully grown weathered hunters? I understood that this was a comedy. I understood that it was "meant" to be funny. But if the audience, or in this case myself, can't relate to a single thing, or find anything even remotely realistic, how can they enjoy a film? There are moments that work however. This film gets most of it's mileage from the same characters I was just complaining about. They are crazy. Off-the-wall and yes, even funny at times. "Hunters' Crossing" contains some genuinely laughable moments and ideas. The cast may all be young, but that doesn't make any of the conversations or situations any less funny. When they actually "are" funny that is. I simply wish this was presented more like a standard film. More like a normal movie.
That's really the thing isn't it? Potentially, "Hunters' Crossing" could have been a great film. I'm not talking about having a huge budget or A-List actors. I'm talking about ditching the found footage style, spending twenty or thirty bucks on a tri-pod - and using it. The super corny visual gags would have even been really funny, had some proper set-ups been utilized. For what it is, "Hunters' Crossing" delivers exactly what you "think" it's going to deliver. You will not be disappointed - simply because you won't be expecting much. I was just hoping for a little more. Maybe something a little more traditional in the filmmaking department. A little can really go a long way. On the other hand, maybe I've just become an old traditionalist. Stuck in my ways on what a film "should" be like. This brave new world of docu-style indie film just isn't my cup of tea. For a few laughs, "Hunters' Crossing" does deliver on occasion - I just wish I could write that I laughed more.