In “The Wild Hunt,” Erik (Ricky Mabe, “Zack and Miri Make a Porno”) nurses a broken heart left shattered by his too-cute girlfriend, Lyn (Kaniehtiio Horn, “Journey to the Center of the Earth”), who’s left him for another man … who’s really into LARPing. When Erik can’t stand it anymore, he ventures to the wilderness where one of their games is at play, in an effort to win her back.
I didn’t think the concept would be able to stretch itself into a feature and remain compelling, but director/co-writer Alexandre Franchi has done just that in an increasingly impressive, low-budget debut. While entering a world that is utterly foreign to him, Erik also keeps it at an arm’s length — two arms, let’s say — despite everyone around him doing the opposite. When he finds Lyn, he almost doesn’t recognize the woman he loves: “This is what makes you feel like a princess? Wrestling with foam swords?”
Yes, “The Wild Hunt” is funny, but it’s also a little sad and, in its final few minutes, a lot disturbing. Let these people have their fun, argues one character — this is all they’ve got. It’s the inability to switch off the fantasy that is a painful reality for some. The film’s tone is as such that, at first, I didn’t care for it. But slowly, surely, it hooked me with its odd flow.
William Golding would be, too. —Rod Lott