Hunt Her, Kill Her (2023)

‘HUNT HER KILL HER’ (2023) Delivers Visceral Horror Action – Review

I’ve had my eye on Welcome Villain’s festival horror hit, HUNT HER, KILL HER (originally titled NIGHT SHIFT) since I first saw the trailer. I didn’t get a chance to see it in theaters, unfortunately, but I’ve been patiently waiting for the digital release. I recently FINALLY had a chance to rent it and check it out on Amazon Prime. Did it live up to my lofty expectations? Let’s find out!

First? Check out the trailer that originally hooked me!

HUNT HER, KILL HER (2023) Synopsis

HUNT HER, KILL HER follows a lone night shift janitor during her first night on the job who finds herself in an unexpected fight for survival when she becomes the target of sinister masked intruders. As their disturbing motives become clearer, she must use her crafty instincts and barbaric violence to make it through the night alive.

Greg Swinson wrote the film and co-directed it with Ryan Thiessen, under their Trauma One Entertainment banner. It stars Natalie Terrazzino, Larry Bunton, and JC Oakley III.

Here’s a look at the poster art!

Hunt Her, Kill Her (2023)

The Setup

Natalie Terrazzino stars as Karen, a newly hired night shift custodian, who just arrived on her first day at new job in a factory warehouse type business. She’s given a tour of the facility by her day shift co-worker, and in the opening scene, we find out she has a sick daughter at home being watched by a not-so-trustworthy sounding neighbor, and she’s going to be the only one at the factory once the aforementioned day shift co-worker heads off to get some half priced wings. This guy is a card.

Karen starts her shift and soon finds out she’s not alone at the factory. There are some suspicous characters lurking about, and they seem hell bent on putting her six feet under. It’s four against one, and she’s trapped. The place is locked down tight. A thrilling game of cat and mouse ensues, as Karen faces off with her unknown assailants, with only her wits and her environment to help her survive.

Hunt Her Kill Her

What Works

Terrazzino’s Karen is a sympathetic and likable protagonist. I admired her toughness and her resourcefulness throughout the film. When I first saw the trailer, I couldn’t help but think Die Hard. That’s exactly how this plays out. Karen plays the John McClane role well, to the point where she even recycles a few lines of his dialogue. If you’re gonna steal, steal from the best, I always say! Karen also summons her inner Rambo on a few occasions, and you will see the influence that character and those films had on this script.

Karen is only a John Rambo and a John McClane in the sense that she can really take a beating. She’s definitely not John Wick. That’s why it works. She’s desperate. She’s tough, but she’s not some highly trained martial artist or UFC fighter. Every encounter she has with the assailants is brutal, and plays out how you might expect when a person in an inferior position is desperate to survive. She claws, scratches, punches, stabs, fights, and slams her way through this film. But her first instinct is, almost always, to run. Her desperation is palpable, and helps you really get invested in the character and the situation.

I love, love, love the title of the film. I also dig the killers’ costumes and masks. This is also a pretty brutal film. In a good way. It’s not Terrifier or Terrifier 2 level brutal, but it’s pretty hard core. There are some nice makeup and gore FX here that genre fans will appreciate. I have to give a shout out to the score, as well. It has a bit of an ominous, Carpenter vibe that I really enjoyed. It really works well to keep the tension mounting!

Hunt Her Kill Her

What Doesn’t Work

When it comes to film they say show, don’t tell. This film seems to have a lot of what I would deem as unnecessary exposition. I found myself saying on more than one occasion, “Oh, they could have shown this” when you could tell they were trying to convey something to the audience. Delivering those expository lines and having it not all seem contrived is a lot to ask of the actors. The cast does a serviceable job, but it just doesn’t sound natural. It stood out to me.

Since we’re talking about filmmaking principles, let’s talk about Chekhov’s gun. Chekhov’s gun is essentially the principle wherein you shouldn’t introduce a story element (or gun) in the first act unless it’s going to be relevant (gun goes off) in Act 2 or 3. In the case of HUNT HER KILL HER, they set up a character trait and back story in the opening scene, and yes, it comes up later, but there were a half dozen things that happen along the way that had me asking, “Hey, but what about…” I don’t want to spoil it, and maybe you won’t even notice, but for me it was troublesome.

The only other thing that I wasn’t a fan of, were the voice modulators used by the assailants. It made them all sound like Freddy Krueger. You can imagine how jarring that is when every other word they say is “Bitch.” I know you can hear what I’m saying in your head right now. You can’t un-hear it. Bitch.

Hunt Her Kill Her

Final Thoughts

HUNT HER KILL HER is a lean and mean 89 minutes full of action, suspense, blood, and guts. It’s a solid concept set in a cool location with a main character you can cheer for. Karen’s no final girl. She’s a straight up hero. You are going to want her to survive.

There’s no post credits scene here, which is a shame. Chekhov’s gun again. I would have loved to see Karen’s day shift co-worker we met at the beginning show up at the very end to complain, “I’m not going to clean up this mess!”

HUNT HER, KILL HER premiered at the Chattanooga Film Festival and garnered nominations from several genre film fests including HorrorHound and Chicago Horror Film Festival.

It’s available now to rent and own on digital platforms, including the aforementioned Amazon Prime. Be sure to follow Welcome Villain on Twitter to learn more about Beaten To Death and their other upcoming releases.

Welcome Villain Films

About Kenn Hoekstra

PopHorror Writer. Associate Editor. @PopHorrorNews Tweeter. Also... Screenwriter. Blogger. Horror Movie Aficionado. Wisconsin Sports Fan. IT Guy. Father. Smartass. People's Champion. TIME Person of the Year - 2006.

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