‘Climate Of The Hunter’ (2021) reviewed

Esoteric and offbeat, this is just as much a “vampire movie” as it is a slow-burn black comedy.

“The mostly-one-location setting gives off a claustrophobic atmosphere that mixes well with the uneasiness to the characters and how they’re presented. Everything is just a tad “off” in Reece’s cinematic world, and that’s one of the charms of his work – unpredictability… I won’t lie – there will be plenty of viewers who just aren’t going to be down with this type of movie. It’s esoteric, it defiantly moves to the beat of its own drum, and I think that Reece is perfectly content to alienate just as many as he enthralls; isn’t that what art, good or bad, is supposed to do?”

Oklahoma-based filmmaker Mickey Reece has built a cottage-like industry in his home state, having written, produced, and directed a series of low-budget indies that take a walk on the eccentric side, while paying tribute to genre conventions in odd, unassuming ways. His latest effort, Climate of the Hunter, is just as much a “vampire movie” as it is a slow-burn black comedy, with various thematic threads dangling in front of the characters for discussion, while the viewer waits – and waits – to see if anything nasty is going to play out. Some less adventurous viewers will no doubt be left disappointed, but for those who have an acquired taste for deliberately offbeat cinema, this stylish picture will dryly tickle your funny bone, while possibly raising the pulse a bit.

The story, which Reece co-wrote with John Selvidge, centers on two sisters, Elizabeth (Mary Buss) and Alma (Ginger Gilmartin), who, after 20 years, attempt to reconnect with their enigmatic friend, Wesley (Ben Hall), who may or may not be a vampire. Alma’s got a nutty, conspiracy theory-obsessed neighbor, hilariously named BJ Beavers (Jacob Ryan Snovel, one of the film’s chief producers), and after he suggests that Wesley might not be fully human (he’s allergic to garlic and sleeps during the day), the film gets weirder and funnier. The mostly-one-location setting gives off a claustrophobic atmosphere that mixes well with the uneasiness to the characters and how they’re presented. Everything is just a tad “off” in Reece’s cinematic world, and that’s one of the charms of his work – unpredictability. The two sisters essentially compete for Wesley’s affection, with results that shouldn’t be spoiled.

I won’t lie – there will be plenty of viewers who just aren’t going to be down with this type of movie. It’s esoteric, it defiantly moves to the beat of its own drum, and I think that Reece is perfectly content to alienate just as many as he enthralls; isn’t that what art, good or bad, is supposed to do? I appreciated the film’s Soderbergian levels of playfulness when it came to filmic form and aesthetic design; the 70’s-inspired setting is wonderfully handled in the 1.33:1 aspect ratio, with muted colors and strong camera placement ruling the day. The tone wavers back and forth between laconic, dead pan humor, and dread-induced, semi-paranoia where you’re often wondering, when is someone going to get it? And that’s part of the fun that Reece is having as a filmmaker – subverting audience expectation just enough, while at the same time, delivering on some of the promises he sets up as a storyteller.

The film premiered at the 2019 Fantastic Fest in Austin, Texas, and then received a limited theatrical release by Dark Star Pictures on December 18, 2020, followed by a wider video-on-demand and digital release on January 12, 2021. Climate of the Hunter is currently available to stream on Amazon Prime in the United States at no additional rental cost fee, and hits UK digital platforms on August 23rd.


‘Climate of The Hunter’ made its UK theatrical debut with select cinemas on Friday 13rd August 2021, and will be arriving on digital platforms to rent and download-to-own from Monday 23rd August 2021. Distributor: Bulldog Film Distribution.

 Nick Clement is a journalist for Variety Magazine and motion picture screenplay consultant, as well as a critic for websites We Are Cult and Back to the Movies. He wrote the introduction to the book Double Features: Big Ideas in Film, which was published by The Great Books Foundation, and is currently working on a book about the life and work of filmmaker Tony Scott. He lives in Connecticut with his wife and son.

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