The Hunters / Removal

Looks fairly cool, no? At least I thought so. Turns out, however, that
the trailer is hardly representative of the film that “The Hunters
really is. For starters, it doesn’t even show its leading man!

That is Chris Briant, a Frenchman whose grasp of the English language is
sub-Schwarzeneggerian. He plays an idealistic investigator fresh from
the military who puts his nose exactly where his shady new bosses
specifically tell him not to: the desolate, abandoned Fort Goben, when
Bad Things Happen, committed by disenfranchised, disillusioned,
blue-collar good ol’ boys belonging to the 99 percent.

How did Briant, a charmless neophyte, land such a plum role? And one
that pairs him with “Glee” gal Dianna Agron as a quasi-love interest?
Here’s the answer I learned after the fact: Briant (né Étienne Huet)
also serves as its first-time director.

In other words, “The Hunters” equates to a fairly slick-looking vanity
project, which explains why its story is so plodding, why it feels
cobbled together from three or four movies, why Terence Knox (“Children
of the Corn II”) was allowed to SHOUT ALL HIS LINES! — why, in essence,
“The Hunters feels as if it redefines “incomprehensible.”

Fellow debuting director Nick Simon’s “Removal” is better, but not by
much. After seeing his recently fired pal (Billy Burke, “Red Riding
“) having killed his wife and daughter before killing himself, Cole (Mark
Kelly, “Dead & Breakfast”) has watched his own life to fall to
pieces because of an inability to cope. Plagued by vivid hallucinations,
Cole is on strong meds, has inadvertently scared off his spouse (Emma
Caulfield, TV’s “Life Unexpected”), and is reduced to taking a job
cleaning carpets.

When Cole is hired to do the floors of a mansion of a super-rich
super-prick (Oz Perkins, son of Anthony and one of the co-writers with
Simon) in one night for $5,000 cash, he suspects something strange is
up. He’s right, but geez, does the script keep you baffled — not in the
good, suspenseful way, either. It’s just too damn confusing for too

You might actually like it better if you had its “twist” ruined from the
start, so you can check if it even works. For me, had the brief role of
a Realtor played poorly but filled nicely by Kelly Brook (“Piranha 3D“)
been expanded from two scenes to, well, all of them, “Removal” would’ve
commanded my attention more, even if it failed to be any more lucid.
—Rod Lott

Rod Lott

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