MidWest WeirdFest - inaugural opening night!

Happy Hunting

Friday, March 3rd, 6pm - with introduction and Q&A with the filmmakers.

Warren (Aussie ex-pat Martin Dingle Wall) is a man on the edge of the abyss. He’s scrambling to get enough dosh together to retrieve his baby daughter from across the US border, born to a Mexican woman. He attempts to sell some crystal meth to a couple of rednecks, but that scenario goes very rotten. Now he’s in a real bad situation, and to make matters worse, he’s a chronic alcoholic, complete with paranoia and tremors when he hasn’t had a drink for a few hours. 

En route to Mexico Warren finds himself in the no-horse town of Bedford Flats where he meets Steve (Ken Lally), an eager chap who leads a small 12-step recovery group. Warren’s gonna need some assistance sooner than later. But this tiny dump - population 135 - has a dark history, and it’s time to put some new bison on the run. 

Dang, this sweaty, grimy horror-thriller might be riddled with cliches, the kind of b-movie which woulda ended up lost on the bottom shelves of video stores about to go bust, then dumped in the sale bins, but the two buddies - Joe Dietsch and Lucian Gibson - behind this dust-laden, hillbilly shoot ‘em up have put together a real tasty, entertaining piece of exploitation fare that never tries to be anything other than a rollicking, spit-in-yer-face, ultra-violent deliverance, and yessiree, it delivers in spades! Yeeee-hah!

Lucian “Louie” Gibson is the son of Mel, and this is his and Dietsch’s first feature, having worked together on a couple of TV mini-series. The two filmmakers have written, directed, and edited Happy Hunting, and they sure know how to throw a camera around, with Dietsch as cinematographer, it looks fantastic, certainly the movie’s most striking element. The performances are all solid, with Lally threatening to chew the desert scenery to bits in the movie’s second half. 

Hunter and the hunted movies are a dime a dozen, but Happy Hunting, despite its routine plotting, is keen as mustard, taking the bison by the horns, and shooting from the hip, right down to the blackly comedic Trumped-up denouement. In fact, the whole movie smacks of bloodied satire, perhaps even a loose-as-hell study in going cold turkey. Hell, if I scull a few more shots of bourbon, I’ll probably slap this short, sharp piece as a cult classic in the waiting. Make sure you catch it on the big screen, its moody and grey, its mean and its restless. 

MidWest WeirdFest screens at the Micon Downtown Cinema in Ear Claire, Wisconsin, Friday March 3rd - Sunday March 5th. Get tickets from here.