The cold, dark and deserted woods of Norway aren’t exactly the most cozy and inviting place on earth… and they get even less inviting when you find out that in fact they are not that deserted at all, but that they’re rather occupied by a gang of merciless redneck sadists, who get their kicks from kidnapping innocent people and hunting ‘em down like game animals. And like all self-respecting redneck psychos, these disagreeable fellows are also not really satisfied with killing their victims fast ‘n clean, but rather do they prefer to torture them in the most brutal ways their deranged minds can come up with.
Too bad that the blonde sweetheart Camilla and her friends Roger, Jorgen and Mia have decided to visit exactly this baneful part of the country during their summer holidays, cause as you can imagine, the grumpy natives are more than happy to give the four kids from the city a welcome they won’t soon forget. And before they even know what’s going on, Camilla and her friends have already fallen prey to the bloodthirsty rednecks and from that moment on “Kill or be killed” is the motto of the day in the dark and dense Norwegian back-country where no one hears your screams except for the sadistic sons of bitches who are responsible for them.
You see, the story of the 2008 Norwegian slasher/shocker flick MANHUNT – BACKWOODS MASSACRE is about as far from being profound, new and revolutionary as it can get and also the main characters (a good-hearted cutie, a self-centered macho, a nerdy comic-fan and an outspoken feminist) are little more than just our typical horror film stereotypes, but apparently this lack of substance and complexity does not work against MANHUNT at all, but rather does the movie’s extreme simplicity and straightforwardness result in a very rough and realistic atmosphere that makes the viewer feel pretty agitated and uncomfortable throughout most of MANHUNT’s running time. As soon as the rednecks come into play and the hunt begins, ROVDYR (as the film is originally titled) turns into an extremely intense tour de force that’s not at all watered down by cheesy Hollywood pathos or contrived stylishness.
With its uncompromising roughness and sheer brutality, this movie grabs you by the throat and clutches harder and harder till you’ve got hardly any air left to breathe. When the rednecks, who are pictured as anonymous, faceless bringers of death throughout most of the movie, blow their victims to pieces with shotguns, rip out their intestines with hunting knives or bind and gag them with barbwire, you can’t help but cringe and feel really uneasy.
Fans of no-holds-barred terror flicks will surely enjoy this little gem for its bawdiness and hardliner attitude alone, while cult flick aficionados will certainly relish its many nods to genre classics such as THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE and MOTHER’S DAY. Sure, first-time director Patrik Syversen hasn’t exactly reinvented the wheel with MANHUNT and I wouldn’t go as far as to call it a masterpiece or instant classic either, but I sure as hell had a great time watching it and will recommend it to every horror freak out there looking for an unpolished and uncompromising low-budget shocker with convincing actors, strong gore effects, good cinematography and a very dense atmosphere.
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