CLIMATE OF THE HUNTER is an indie horror movie. You’ll want to watch this one if you’re a fan of classic vampire movies. In fact, this 1970s vampiric dinner party is definitely worth attending. Read our full Climate of the Hunter movie review here!
CLIMATE OF THE HUNTER is a new indie horror movie in the vampire subgenre.
As my first encounter with the horror genre was Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I am always hopeful for unique vampire films. You can only watch so many films about a mysterious figure named Alucard (i.e., “Dracula” spelled backwards).
Climate of the Hunter fit that bill. Continue reading my review of this indie vampire movie below.
An indie, 1970s vampiric dinner party
In their Oklahoman mountain-lake vacation home, sisters Alma (Ginger Gilmartin) and Elizabeth (Mary Buss) anxiously await the arrival of their neighbor, Wesley (Ben Hall), a suave, cultured man of the renaissance. Having never been married, Elizabeth vies for Wesley’s affection, challenged by recently divorced Alma’s similar intention.
As Wesley recently institutionalized his wife Genevieve (Laurie Cummings), a source of conflict between Wesley and his son, Percy (Sheridan McMichael), Wesley reciprocates the sisters’ advances. While Elizabeth’s pursuit of Wesley strengthens, the sisters’ neighbor BJ Beavers (Jacob Ryan Snovel, who also produced the film) cautiously advises Alma that something is not quite right about Wesley: “You look at that man long enough, hard enough, and just close enough, you’ll see there are a few tell-tale signs there. He’s got a lot of darkness.”
As the film progresses through a series of soirees for guest-of-honor Wesley, also attended by Percy and Alma’s daughter, Rose (Danielle Evon Ploeger), fantasy, folklore, and mystery converge, leaving the viewer to question what is real, and what is real only to Alma.
Dialogue “takes the cake” in the multicourse soiree
Climate of the Hunter is a different kind of horror movie. At its onset, I speculated that it would be reminiscent of Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom or Lars Von Trier’s Antichrist, given the deliberate use of the quiet Oklahoma forest as a secondary, supporting character of solitude.
Climate does not rely on traditional jump scares or gore. Rather, Climate succeeds through its use of thoughtful dialogue regarding the beginning, middle, and end of life as well as the meaningfulness of the legacies that we leave, cleverly captured in a discussion by Wesley of the finiteness of the universe.
Written by Mickey Reese and John Selvidge, Climate captivates and enchants the viewer through careful conversation while simultaneously providing the viewer insight into the character’s lingering and damaged psyches.
Despite these strengths, I was less than enthused by Buss’s Elizabeth and McMichael’s Percy. Gilmartin and Hall were exceptional as Alma and Wesley, but Buss’s deliveries were muted, making it difficult to parse Elizabeth’s intentions and jealousies from Buss’s performance that paled in comparison.
Watch Climate of the Hunter on-demand now
Unfortunately, Climate of the Hunter’s conclusion was equally underwhelming. Opening with an image of an involuntary institutional commitment letter for Alma, the viewer must decide whether the film is hallucination or reality, subtly emphasized by images of Alma smoking marijuana and Wesley mentioning his past use of LSD.
Past horror films have done so well to effectively pit deteriorating mental health against supernatural evil (e.g., The Babadook, Lovely Molly, The Taking of Deborah Logan), and I can only hope that future films will push the boundaries of such storytelling well beyond what Climate accomplished.
In all, Climate of the Hunter earns 3 of 5 stars. An impressive screenplay, mesmerizing imagery, and excellent performances by Hall and Gilmartin create an indie, 1970s vampiric dinner party worth attending.
Climate of the Hunter is out on iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Xbox, Vudu, Direct TV, Dish Network, and all major cable providers from January 12, 2021.
Director: Mickey Reece
Writers: Mickey Reece, John Selvidge
Stars: Ginger Gilmartin, Mary Buss, Ben Hall, Jacob Ryan Snovel
Two sisters, Alma and Elizabeth, along with a dog who’s described as a “philosopher,” have come to Alma’s remote house to reconnect with Wesley after twenty years. Alma is recently divorced, Elizabeth is a workaholic in Washington, D.C., while Wesley lives in Paris dealing with a wife recently struck with a fatal disease.
When the three come together for dinner it has all the makings of a lovely adult melodrama about loneliness, and the desire to connect and share our lives with someone… but we must add to the mix one otherworldly piece of information: Wesley could be a vampire.