Story Details

Mondo Macabro: Hunting Ground (1983) - Reviewed

Posted By themoviesleuth 191 days ago on Entertainment - “The day I come to believe the world is just a hunting ground, life will lose all meaning for me.”Jorge Grau’s Hunting Ground is a nasty bit of nihilism that combines a crime thriller with a home invasion film. While most of the film is played fairly straightforward, the third act plunges headfirst into exploitation territory with some truly heinous acts depicted in their full glory. The tale follows Adele (Assumpta Serna), a defense lawyer who has a very analytical and logical view on crime and criminals. In her mind, many criminals are victims of their poor environments and lack of money and upbringing, and she fights for them to get lighter sentences with a chance for rehabilitation. While the points she brings up are excellent (and in real life are backed up with research and studies), the other lawyers and even the judges treat her with derision. The way her character is presented and written makes her seem naive and emotional even if the points she is making are sound. It seems as though the film is not so subtly painting her as a stereotypical “bleeding-heart liberal”. As she presents a case in court, a few local troublemakers take interest in her and follow her to a local market. They steal her car while she is inside. Unfortunately, her car also had the keys and address to her vacation house and they take note and decide to break in and rob it. Adele, her husband, and his mother stop by the house to pick up some papers and while they are there the robbers break in. A struggle ensues and in the scuffle her husband is killed. This starts a nightmare journey in which Adele has to come to terms with the savage nature of humanity and realize that perhaps some people can never be redeemed no matter how many chances you give them. Adele’s characterization is interesting, as she seems to have a level head but for whatever reason makes many incompetent decisions that seal her fate. It almost feels like the film is “punishing” her for being too nice and empathetic, continually torturing her and ramping up the severity as the narrative progresses. How dare Adele give people the benefit of the doubt? How dare she not resort to violence immediately? There is even a point where her own young son takes her aside to tell her “I am the man of the house and I will protect you”. The moral of the film seems to be the idea that the world is merely survival of the fittest and that there is no place for emotion and pity. Adele is the sacrificial lamb, a teaching moment, if you will. It is quite unsettling yet expertly executed. Assumpta gives the character a mix of strong intelligence and wavering frailty that makes the audience simultaneously exasperated with her actions and empathetic towards her motives. Hunting Ground is elegantly filmed, with creative shot composition that enhances the story without bringing attention to itself.  It’s viscerally violent at times, and if one were to judge it by the promotional art, wherein Adele is depicted nude wearing only a shirt and wielding a shotgun, it might look like a sleazy revenge film, but it is actually deep and nuanced. The ending especially is haunting and powerful and will stick around in the audience’s mind well after the credits roll. Slightly conservative leaning politics aside, Hunting Ground is a fantastic and thought-provoking examination into the true nature of evil.Special Features:Brand new 4k transfer from film negative, digitally restored.Fully uncut.50-minute interview with Director Jordi Grau.Choice of English or Spanish audio.Brand new sleeve art from Justin Coffee.Mondo Macabro previews.—Michelle Kisner  (function() { var zergnet = document.createElement('script'); zergnet.type = 'text/javascript'; zergnet.async = true; zergnet.src = (document.location.protocol == "https:" ? "https:" : "http:") + '//'; var znscr = document.getElementsByTagName('script')[0]; znscr.parentNode.insertBefore(zergnet, znscr); })();

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