As a genre, horror films have undergone a whole host of transitions. From all-out blood and guts to the more psychological thriller there has always been something there to make our skin crawl. But something that seems to have been forgotten to time in the genre is its over-the-topness and the idea that horror can be at times rather camp. In Mickey Reece’s vampire horror, Climate of the Hunter, the director pays homage to some of the classics of the genre from the 1970s, but gives it a more intimate feel. It is these tropes that give the film a very odd feeling but one in which you find yourself pulled into, more in a head-scratching way rather than a way of intrigue.
Also, this isn’t your conventional vampire flick, where the rumours of a vampire manifest in a community and things become clear for the audience to see. Instead, a sense of ambiguity around our would-be vamp, Wes (Ben Hall) is something that keeps the intrigue of the viewer.
The setting of the majority of the film is around the dinner table, where sisters Alma (Ginger Gilmartin) and Elizabeth (Mary Buss) are vying for the attention of the suave writer and rumoured vampire. The changing dynamic between the two sisters is something that is interesting as seems like a man is at the heart of what rules their world and that he is able to so easily get in the middle of them. It is a tale as old as time of people vying for another’s affection, but it is a little different when that person is rumoured to be a vampire.
A lot of the scenes are shot in very dim lighting and even for a horror film, it seems a little excessive, but it does add the mystique of who Wes is and why we only really ever see him interact with these women at night. The hints that we get of Wes being a vampire are subtle and not overly in your face – apart from a few scenes of very slapstick and camp gore – but the story is told through very clever dialogue.
Stylistically the films takes a lot from those 70s films and even the bits of true horror come off as silly. Overall the film pays tribute to films gone by in an interesting way, but not in a way to make a lasting impact. Climate of the Hunter on the surface is an interesting take on the vampire genre, but in reality, slightly misses the mark and leaves you a little unsatisfied.
However, if you like old-school horror films, this is a modern take on some tropes which have been long forgotten.
Dir: Mickey Reece
Scr: Mickey Reece, John Selvidge
Music: Nicholas Poss
Running time: 82 minutes
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