REVIEW: Hunters’ Crossing
– By Kriss Pickering
I must be honest, when I got asked to review Zach Zeman’s Hunters’ Crossing I was a little apprehensive. I mean, on the surface it looked like another low budget creature-feature to roll off the independent genre film production line, and I always have trouble tempering my expectations to the film in question’s budget. However, once I sat down to watch it, I was very pleasantly surprised! For starters, rather than being your stereotypical Bigfoot film, it focuses more on the relationships between the “hunters”, but we will get to that a little later…
Filmed in the mockumentary style, Hunters’ Crossing introduces us to Hank (Noah Schindler), a novice hunter. Hank has fantasized about winning the “Hunter of the Year” award since he first heard about it and is out in the woods, preparing and trying to hone his skills.
It is while on this hunting session that he meets and befriends Trevor Farleys (played by Rieves Bowers), an experienced hunter whose life goal is to bag the legendary BigFoot! Along with grizzly veteran bear hunter Willis (Mason Taylor), the newly formed trio set out to hunt the legendary beast!
While the story comes across a little cliched, it works well with the mockumentary style that it is filmed in and creates a very awkward, yet entertaining watch. But it’s the characters that Zeman has created that really set the tone for the film. They are balls to the wall clumsy and dumb, and although I feel it would have helped the film if they were portrayed with a bit more subtlety, the chemistry between the cast makes up for it.
It is that chemistry that elevates the film above most of the micro budget fare that I have seen recently. There are times when the chemistry between the trio makes you forget that it is a fake documentary, as it feels like a bunch of mates that have ventured into the woods with a camera for a laugh. It also helps mask some of the classic, low budget acting.
Out of the main cast, Noah Schindler is the pick of the bunch. His portrayal of Hank adds depth to the character and you can really feel his drive to win the “Hunter of the Year” award. I’ve mentioned this already, but the chemistry between Schindler and Rieves Bowers is off the charts and elevates the film massively. Overall though, the casting seems pretty much spot on, except Mason Taylor’s as the ageing huntsman Willis Hampton. See, Taylor looks in his Twenties, and the Hampton character is supposed to be the wrong side 40, but this may be part of the film’s comedy that I didn’t get!
Speaking of the comedy, Hunters’ Crossing has its share of laughs. The dialogue between the characters and the way they play off each other is a massive plus. While watching the film, it feels like a lot of the dialogue may be ad-libbed as it felt very natural.
Unfortunately, and this could also be said about the vast majority of low budget indie films, there are more than a few technical issues. For example, many of the outdoor scenes felt really blown out and over saturated and the sound could have been a little more professionally done. But to say they made the film with a reported $500, there was bound to be issues. I’d also say that unless they could afford a decent suit/make up, not to put a “BigFoot” on screen at all, as the suit they used was terrible!
To sum things up, Hunters’ Crossing was a fun watch. Sure, there could be improvements made and maybe it could have been a little shorter to make more of the limited budget, but it’s shown me that Zach Zeman and his crew have a lot of potential and I look forward to seeing how his film making career goes in the future!