A fun helping of 80s hillbilly horror.
11 December 2007
Pull on your dungarees, git yourself some moonshine, and curl up with yer sister on the couch: it's backwoods terror time! Five 'city boys', on a hunting trip in the wilds of Arkansas, end up being hunted themselves after running into a group of inbred poachers who don't take too kindly to strangers—especially Yankees.

All right, Hunter's Blood may not be all that original, utilising the standard 'backwoods' plot line that has served so many films well in the past (and since). But with a pretty solid cast (including Sam Bottoms, Clu Galager, and Ken Swofford), well paced direction, great dialogue, and some juicy gore, it still manages to be a gripping experience.

Director Robert C. Hughes doesn't rush proceedings, taking time to carefully develop his characters before the killing begins. We get to see how the hunters interact with each other, and develop an understanding of their personalities. None of the men are portrayed as saints: even Bottoms' nice-guy intern doctor, David Rand, has a laugh at a barmaid's expense (when the boys stop at a bar to stock up on brews).

Of course, even though the group unwisely mock the locals, they don't quite deserve what happens to them once they begin their hunting trip proper.

The unsavoury poachers soon make their presence known, interrupting the guys at their campsite and causing trouble, until tough old-timer Mason (Galager) sends them packing. Mason also gets in a spot of bother when the hunters accidentally stumble upon the poachers at work, and gets in a vicious scrap with Snake, a slimy looking redneck played by Billy Drago.

Fortunately, as things start to get really nasty, a pair of cops on horseback turn up and arrest the back-woods scum, handcuffing them together and leading them away. However, the bad guys soon manage to escape (after their kin ambush and kill the lawmen) and set out to teach the interferin' city boys a lesson.

From here-on in, things get very nasty. The hunters stumble upon the gruesome remains of the cops (a carved up corpse and a severed head), and realise that they are in deep trouble. Their hunting trip has turned into a fight for survival.

What follows is a tense, action packed slice of survivalist cinema that delivers plenty of nice 'n' nasty scenes of violence (including a great shotgun blast to the face), which is only weakened slightly by opting to have David's pretty wife Melanie (Kim Delaney) turn up to join in the 'fun' (a rather unbelievable, unnecessary and unwelcome plot turn, in my opinion).

7.5 out of 10, rounded up to 8 for IMDb.
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