The Movie Waffler New to Prime Video - CLIMATE OF THE HUNTER | The Movie Waffler

New to Prime Video - CLIMATE OF THE HUNTER

climate of the hunter review
Two sisters vie for the affection of an old friend who may or may not be a vampire.

Review by Musanna Ahmed

Directed by: Mickey Reece

Starring: Mary Buss, Ginger Gilmartin, Danielle Evon Ploegger, Ben Hall, Sheridan McMichael

climate of the hunter poster

To understand Climate of the Hunter, you might need to be a little under the influence. This bizarro genre-bender centres on a duo of sisters, Alma (Ginger Gilmartin) and Elizabeth (Mary Buss), who we initially meet in varying middle-life circumstances. Alma in particular is a person of interest as the film opens with the shot of a document that diagnoses her with severe mental health problems. This document will subtly inform the development of the strange proceeding events as well as her relationship with angsty daughter Rose (Danielle Evon Ploegger). Or at least I think it does.

climate of the hunter review

It’s been a long time since the sisters have seen their old pal Wesley (Ben Hall, taking cues from Christopher Lee and Boris Karloff), who immediately puts Dracula at the forefront of your mind with his slick yet suspicious semblance. Wesley is subsequently invited, alongside his son Percy (Sheridan McMichael), to join them in their cabin for dinner. Through all the ambiguous discussions and melodramatic musings and airy ambiance in this unique five-way interplay, the key question raised is, could Wesley be a vampire? Conventional wisdom and basic observation skills suggests he may be. But that also may just be director Mickey Reece playing with us.

Exactly understanding Reece’s film may be a challenge – especially in its bewildering third act – but appreciating it is as easy as pie, at least in regard to aesthetics. Atmospheric to an intense degree, the whole film’s mood is that of a retro genre film. There are many alluring details within the dreamy, Technicolor-inspired mise-en-scene. It takes its place next to The Love Witch as one of the modern genre flicks that feels plucked out from 50 or 60 years ago. The director is very open about being inspired by one film in particular - Harry Kümel’s psychosexual 1971 lesbian vampire horror Daughters of Darkness.

climate of the hunter review

The reference points can also extend to the films of Jean Rollin and even Ingmar Bergman, but Climate of the Hunter remains a showcase of a distinct filmmaker’s abilities. With its embrace of kitsch and allergy to simple categorical labels, this oddity is sure to find its audience of alternative film fans and I can count myself among them.

Infusing horror, melodrama, and dark comedy through intriguing compositions, Climate of the Hunter is at its best when it refuses to conform. It can break down if one interrogates the fundamentals – questions around plot or character development may not have favourable answers – but you don’t want to be interrupted from the trance.

climate of the hunter review

The filmmaker has developed a reputation for his prolific, DIY approach to moviemaking, having directed over 25 features on a shoestring since 2008. I wasn’t aware of who he was until I searched his name after being quite compelled by his latest work and I’m certainly keen to check out more now. Firstly, though, I might need to watch this one a second time, even if it’s just to try and make complete sense of it all.

Climate of the Hunter is on Prime Video UK now.