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Hunt Her, Kill Her 2023 Movie Review
Hunt Her, Kill Her promises to be a thriller as lean and mean as its title suggests. Natalie Terrazzino plays Karen, a single mother barely scraping by who has just taken a job as a night shift janitor at a furniture factory. The story is from the duo of Greg Swinson and Ryan Thiessen. The two have worked together previously on 2006’s low-budget slasher Five Across The Eyes. The film originally titled Night Shift was screened at the Chattanooga Film Festival where it garnered a lot of praise and enough buzz to gain the attention of the newly founded horror genre studio Welcome Villain Films.
Hunt Her, Kill Her takes the tried and true setup of a woman in peril and ratchets the tension up the old-fashioned way. While there are impressive visual effects throughout, the strength of this film lies in the cast of relative unknowns and the dense atmosphere of the film. Shot on location at an operational furniture factory in Morristown, Tennessee, the tension is brought to a boiling point by the setting. The factory’s layout and machinery are innocuous by day but become terrifying when the lights go out and the noises start.
Karen (Natalie Terrazzino) has had a rough go of things lately, but she is excited to start her new job. It is a thankless night shift job as a janitor in a furniture factory. Some of the employees are not very enthusiastic about Karen joining the team. After a nasty run-in with Rusty (Scott Lane) and Mickey (Trevor Tucker), she is left shaken up. Karen is in a tough spot and can’t say no to the pay, even if some of her new coworkers are less than welcoming. After being shown the ropes, Karen is left to her own while the factory is shut down for the evening.
As Karen begins to settle into her routine, she is able to relax and explore a bit. The factory that was loud and bright during the day is eerily quiet now, except for the occasional clang of a pipe or hum of a machine. While taking out the trash, Karen notices a van idling in the parking lot. While not highly unusual, she is keenly aware of the van not belonging, and her being alone in the factory. As Karen turns her back on the van and heads back inside, she couldn’t possibly know the terror about to befall her.
Karen’s first night on the job quickly becomes a fight for her survival. Masked intruders descend upon the factory, and thus begins a deadly game of cat and mouse between Karen and her would-be killers. The factory floor becomes a battleground as she has to fight for her survival. All the more harrowing is that Karen may be less familiar with her surroundings than the maniacs who have broken in. What ensues is an all-out fight for survival where Karen will need to keep her wits about her.
The film marks a return to feature filmmaking for Greg Swinson and Ryan Thiessen, who last collaborated on the low-budget horror picture Five Across the Eyes. The Tennessee natives have worked tirelessly to get their sophomore effort to the big screen and the work shows in the final product. The film has been well-received at film festivals and genre screenings. This could be a huge career boost for Swinson and Thiesen.
The principal actors in Hunt Her, Kill Her are relative newcomers who all do an excellent job here. The standout of course is Natalie Terrazzino, who plays the ill-fated Karen. She could be poised for a break-out role here. It is a tough role to play both the woman in peril and the believable heroine. What drives the film is how Natalie Terrazzino is able to show Karen’s transformation from hunted into hunter, from survivor into vanquisher. Hunt Her, Kill Her also stars JC Oakley III and Larry Bunton in supporting roles.
There will be some pretty solid competition this March when it comes to horror films. With the likes of Scream VI hitting theaters along with The Evil Dead Rise in the same month, word of mouth will help get Hunt Her, Kill Her some traction to stay in theaters long enough to reach a wide audience. With horror films churning out reboots and franchise installments by the dozens, Hunt Her, Kill Her could be just the type of genre film horror audiences who are looking for some original storytelling will flock to.