Director and co-writer Mickey Reece (Strike, Dear Mistress, and Cure His Heart) piles on the atmosphere in this American Gothic tale that evokes the spirit of the Euro vampires of the ‘70s.
Taking place at an undisclosed location, in a holiday home that has been occupied by Alma (Ginger Gilmartin) for longer than her sister, Elizabeth (Mary Buss) knows. Alma is suffering from mental issues and the reappearance of her old flame, Wesley (Ben Hall) does nothing to help it. Particularly since he has suddenly taken an interest in Elizabeth. Wesley is well-spoken, with a silky voice and is worldly-wise and keeps them both transfixed with his talk. As more family members come into the picture - Alma’s overpowering daughter Rose (Daniella Evon Ploeger) and Wesley’s bitter son Percy (Sheridan McMichael) - the relationship between the sisters is strained thinner.
Reece directs confidently, using the Academy ratio to add to the displaced time while star filters and crash zooms give a Euro-horror feel. Climate of the Hunter is a pedestrian affair but there’s plenty to enjoy, particularly for fans of ambiguous vampire films such as Let’s Scare Jessica to Death and George A. Romero’s Martin, as well as the flouncy, sexualised fare of Jean Rollin. Whether Wesley is a genuine bloodsucker or if the wordplay and subtle hints (he is violently sick when his son puts garlic in his food) are just in the mind. In the end, it doesn't really matter. It’s a dialogue-heavy film, which draws the viewer in and keeps them captive as the bizarre ménage à trois unfolds. The sisters’ relationship and, in particular, Alma’s deteriorating mental state (which allows for some glorious surreal moments) is the main thrust of the film and is all the more absorbing for the lack of cloaks and bats.
Climate of the Hunter is in select cinemas on August 13th and digital from August 23rd.