An Unbiased and Completely True Review Of..."Hungerford"
What's It All About?
We begin learning that the main protagonist, Cowen, is bumming life in the flat of his friends, Phillipa and Adam. It seems that he is a film student of sorts, but is having some cash flow problems and has decided to make a movie of his daily routine for seven days.
On the evening of the first night of his filming experiment, there is an unusual storm that brews up over the local factory. Ominous clouds and lightning flash through the sky, objects are thrown into the air by a mighty explosion, terrifying the local residents. Cowen can't help but film the strange sight until a large piece of the factory lands near the group at which point the camera shuts off.
Cowen is madly in love with a girl who'd gone off to University away from Hungerford, and now that she is back in town, is looking to spark a little romance. This gal, Janine, lives in a ritzy home on the outskirts of town and is throwing a party to celebrate her return home. It's here we begin to get the first inclination that something is amiss, as Janine's father is seen beating his head bloody against a window during the soiree.
Janine throws Cowen and his friends out of the party as a girl that Adam is hitting on starts to vomit blood without warning, prompting the hostess to believe that there was some kind of drug slipped to the girl by Adam, and holding Cowen guilty by association. The group head home to the communal flat and call it a night.
The next day, they are attacked by a public worker inside the flat. Cowen tries to fight the man as he lunges for Phillipa, but is thrown to the ground. Adam arrives and a struggle begins when the assailant grabs a knife and goes at Adam with it. Adam turns the knife away and stabs the man in the stomach to no effect. Luckily, Cowen has a can of deodorant handy and sprays the man in the face, killing him. After the body hits the floor, a large insect comes out of the mans neck, which the friends kill.
As more people in the town begin acting like the first assailant, the group begins to realize that the insects are somehow responsible for the strange behavior the citizens are displaying. This is reinforced when Adam is "infected", describing to the group (after a careful application of deodorant spray) that the bug inside his neck was directing him to kill the others.
Cowen realizes that this is similar to what he saw Janine's father acting like back at their house, and convinces the group to go on a rescue mission. When they arrive, Janine is cowering in fear, her father has been locked in the same room for two days, and she is terrified of him. The gang convinces her to get the key and open the door so they can confirm that her dad is a bug zombie. He most definitely is, and they dispatch him in short order.
The remainder of the film is confusing mish mash of rescuing each other, unclear motivations for the bug zombies, and the inevitable final showdown featuring the military versus the monsters.
So What Do I Think?
- The special effects were actually decent for a film with pretty much no budget. If you are expecting Lucasfilm level CGI or practical effects, you will be sorely disappointed. I'm sure that the crew using Vegas editing tools could have made the bugs crawling around, the heads exploding, the gun fire from the military members, etc. I applaud the crew for their creativity and ability create mostly believable creatures in the movie.
- I didn't notice a single note of background music during the movie. This was an interesting choice by the filmmakers and I found it to be a unique diversion, allowing me to get further into the film.
- For a found footage style movie, there was actually very little shaky cam occurring, which I appreciated greatly. Nothing is more distracting and can give me a headache than trying to watch a film with the camera juking around making any action onscreen impossible to follow. Kudos, guys.
- The acting vacillates between wooden, almost canned dialogue and reactions, to the most severe emoting I have witnessed in quite a while. I'm fairly sure that this is because this was the first major film that they starred in. All of the cast had only appeared in short form films or internet shorts prior to this, so their lack of experience is understandable, but painful to watch at the same time.
- The plot, oh Lord, the plot. There are so many things to say about the plot. Why did no one in the town seem concerned about the storm over the factory or the resulting explosions immediately following, as the town seems to go back to daily routine the next day. When the first instances of people getting bug zombied began occurring, why was no law enforcement involved? When action was finally taken, only 4 guys with automatic weapons show up? It makes my head hurt thinking about the many inconsistencies and lapses of logic that were present.
- Horror movies are a mixed bag of the best of worst of the movie industry. There is usually nothing wrong with a bad horror movie. At the best, a bad horror movie is laughable, almost dipping its toe into the pool of comedy. At worst, it is something difficult to get through, borderline on painful. This first effort of this movie making team falls somewhere in between the extremes. There are parts of the film that are decent enough to warrant my attention, but too much that was amateurish to the extreme (and not in the good Blair Witch way).
- I can't really recommend this for repeat viewing, but given the fact that they went ahead and made a sequel to the film, it just might be worth your while to binge on both as a double feature, if nothing else, you will kill about 3 hours of your day.
© 2020 Ryan Saunders