WarHunt Review

PLOT: The year is 1945, and the United States military has just lost a plane containing sensitive information behind enemy lines. When a ragtag group of soldiers heads into Nazi territory to retrieve it, things worsen once they realize a supernatural element is at play.

LOWDOWN: I love a few things more than a good drink, and they happen to be schlocky horror and war history. Or maybe I should put the booze higher on that list? Hard to tell as there seems to be a permanent fog over time since 2020, but I digress. World war set horror is one sub-genre that never got its fair shake, and I’m still holding out for more grand entries like Pan’s Labyrinth. But on the B-movie list, we’ve got some fun ones, with the recent Overlord being a current favorite of mine. 

I was fortunate enough to get a hold of a new war-horror flick called WarHunt (WATCH IT HERE), directed by Mauro Borrelli and starring Mickey Rourke, Jackson Rathbone, and Robert Knepper. Only running ninety minutes or so, this is an odd beast of a film that swings big, and though it doesn’t always land, it’s strange and engaging enough to make this critic smile more than once. So, pour yourself something nice, and let’s dig in.

WarHunt tells the story of an American retrieval team who must head into Germany’s Black Forest and get the top-secret MacGuffin before Hitler uses it to win the war. Leading the group of soldiers is Sgt. Brewer, played by the always fantastic Robert Knepper, and I still think his Rodney Mitchum was one of the best surprises about Twin Peaks: The Return. Sgt. Brewer, a man who cares about his team as if they were his true family, has full intention of leading his troops to victory and home safe and sound, and with such strong convictions, Knepper chews the scenery for the entire runtime. Both endearing and wacky, Knepper plays Sgt. Brewer with an award-level amount of sincerity.

Things get complicated when Major Johnson (Mickey Rourke) shows up and forces Brewer to take on Walsh (Jackson Rathbone), who is an intelligence agent who knows more than the military outfit he’s been thrust into. Walsh is the level-headed lead with the right amount of heroism and fellowship to keep him and everyone else safe. Rathbone does a lot with the role, and aside from working with the clunky dialogue provided, Rathbone gives this flick a good amount of heart. Mickey Rourke will always be an actor I love. Has his recent output been consistent? No, and I won’t pretend he isn’t on the Bruce Willis path as of late, but unlike Willis, he puts in an effort into roles he could clearly sleepwalk through if he so desired. Major Johnson doesn’t do much but bark orders, yet Rourke gives this stale character life with his over-the-top style partnered with a straight-laced stoic delivery. It’s badass yet corny, and I couldn’t have enjoyed it more.

This story isn’t exactly brimming with originality, but WarHunt creates a respectable amount of suspense and tension. Written by Borrelli, Scott Svatos, and Reggie Keyohara III, The strength of Warhunt is putting these characters in a Twilight Zone situation and letting the atmosphere and suspense do the rest. As the group ventures farther into the Black Forest, it becomes clearer that things aren’t what they seem. The Nazis aren’t even the problem, and whatever supernatural evil is here doesn’t pick sides. Early on, we see a group of Nazis that have been killed, drained of their blood, and hung up like the Predator is in town. Things are at their best when this lets the atmosphere do the talking. We get a few genuinely cool and surprisingly strange scenes that don’t rely on tired tropes. The supernatural evil is violent, ruthless, and sexy, making the eventual confrontation enjoyable.

Now, what doesn’t work and hampers things down a bit is the awkward dialogue. Not too terrible, but it comes off kind of generic and safe for the situation at hand. I found the conversations to be a chore to get through, jumping from exposition dumps to stock character jargon most of the time. WarHunt is a B-movie, and with that, certain qualities need to be accepted, but its biggest sin is not knowing when to listen and when to shut up.

GORE: This isn’t too gory, but when it gets bloody, it’s over-the-top goodness with big blood spurts and some gnarly body damage.

BOTTOM LINE: WarHunt is schlock played straight, and though it has its ups and downs, it nails the trippy forest vibe and goes above and beyond its B-level medium. Things get ridiculous and unintentionally silly at times; still, WarHunt commits to the tale and sells the absurd with some solid directing and atmospheric cinematography. I’ve always been a sucker for these types of low-budget genre mixes, yet this puts in a lot more effort than it needed to and aims high, even if it doesn’t always land. If this sounds like your type of fun, give WarHunt a chance, drink in hand. It’s a good time.

WarHunt Hits Theaters, VOD And Digital Jan. 21, 2022.

Warhunt

GOOD

7
Source: Arrow in the Head

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