About the Film
"…reminiscent of The Blair Witch Project… with more than a little of the black comedy of Shaun of the Dead. Horror fans won’t be left hungry." - London Evening Standard. WINNER Best Horror Sci Fi - Berlin Independent Film Festival. Cowen Rosewell is a student living with a small group of old friends, in a scruffy flat, in a small English town. His first media studies assignment is to record everything in 'a week of his life'. Following an epic storm, things in Hungerford change and when Cowen inadvertently kills an assailant, whilst defending of one of his best friends, the inexplicably serious nature of the dead assailant’s injuries alert them to a more disturbing reality...
So, first I have to declare my role on the film as one of the producers - so here comes my gushing review. Drew Casson the director was 18 when we found him making fan films and special effects for YouTube. Because these films were so good we spent a year with him developing this film Hungerford which we shot for under £25,000 in the summer of 2013. Since then it has premiered at the NFT as frappe to SCI-FI-LONDON , making Drew the youngest director on record to have a film screened at the BFI, it was won awards at Berlin Independent Film Festival and Fanstasporto and we are shooting the sequel in April. Drew is a shining example of what we are trying to do at Wildseed Studios, enabling exciting new talent to take their talent to a new level. With Drew eh just skipped a couple of levels and went from enthusiast to award winner in one bound. The film is great - really good performances, great characters, great special effects (including creatures, space ships and everything) and a huge amount of heart. If you rent or buy this you will be part of of our missions send a huge young talent all the way to the top!
I'm not a fan of 1-star reviews that only provide a single line of venom; they make me suspect sour grapes for reasons known only to them, so I generally give those movies the benefit of the doubt.
My own rating is a very generous 2-star, but only because I couldn't bring myself to say 'I hated it' for the reason in my first sentence below.
I made it to the end, but only because the film had such an amateur feel to it, I found myself wanting to support them as the underdogs of the movie world. There are brief moments when the actors convinced me and drew me in, but for the most part, the performances seemed more like I was watching a bunch of friends who had got together and said, 'let's have a go at this acting thing'. They tried really hard, but they just don't have it. Sorry. That may be partly to do with direction, screenplay and story, all of which just didn't cut it for me. There were so many moments (particularly the early scene with Janine(?)) where the people in the scene definitely would not have acted the way they did knowing they were on camera for student project. Talking about that one night stand you had? Come on!
However, the SFX, in the few moments they are used, are pretty good actually (the trailer shows you the best of that). Sound was good and I think there was some clever camerawork in places. But there really isn't much to praise about this movie. Most of the work seemed to be done by Drew Casson who wanted to show that he knows special effects pretty well. Unfortunately he doesn't have the skills for the rest of it yet.
I really do hope he goes on to do more because I think this is the sort of guy that puts huge effort and passion into his projects and one day, once he has the benefit of experience, he'll be able to make a good film. This one isn't.
Before the reviews went up, my immediate thought was 'Here we go again, another British horror film'. The only output from the UK by far seems to be cheap horror or cockney mockney gangster/football hooligan films. What drew my curiousity, however, was the producer's review here on itunes. Notwithstanding an element of bias in awarding his own work five stars (who would not?) it has to be said that his information was reminiscent when in the golden old days of Scala cinema club in King's Cross, the proprietor would sometimes jump on stage just as the film would end and ask the audience to remain seated as the director of the film would now talk to us. In one instance it was David Cronenburg. Anyway, 'Hungerford' as a film does hold well and it is reasonably priced which is why I bought it. I particularly like the move away from using actors that look as if they were selected from toothpaste adverts, and the naturalistic flow of the script. I like the way the comedy was used to round the edges of the otherwise cheap special effects. To be brutally honest, but hopefully also fair, there is no new ground covered in this film to set it apart from countless forebears, but it does show that the whole team involved has talent and really put a lot of artistic effort in this. I am not convinced that pouring more money into a future project would necessarily make a better film. If there's one thing Hollywood has proved is that its investors expect to have a certain amount of artistic control in return for wider distribution. One more thing, regarding the plethora of critical comments by some viewers here along the line of "that was a complete waste of an hour and a half", or "it was boring" etc. I choose to ignore statements like that because they carry very little information as to why they think the film was bad. Surely if they wasted an hour and a half watching something they did not like then felt strongly enough to write a review, they could afford an extra minute to tell us why it was not to their liking. I am more likely to avoid watching something if the reviewer makes an effort to explain without giving the plot away. What were they planning to do with that hour and a half anyway? Cross the Delaware in tow of George Washington perhaps? If anything I feel I waste my time reading their reviews, but we do happen to live in an era where little 'minions' have become fashionable. I expect that just like the trolls before them this trend will eventually fade.