REVIEW: HUNTING THE LEGEND / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR: JUSTIN STEELY / SCREENPLAY: JUSTIN STEELY / STARRING: CHRISTOPHER COPELAND, HANNAH WALLACE, JEFF CAUSEY, JUSTIN STEELY / RELEASE DATE: FEBRUARY 9TH
The wheel refuses to come off the ‘found footage’ bandwagon despite the fact that the genre is now going round and round in circles and, judging from Hunting the Legend, has finally found-footaged its way back to where it all pretty much started – 1999’s Blair Witch Project. Thus we have a group of teens trudging through crackling, pitch-dark woods jumping out of their skins at mysterious knocking noises, grisly ritualistic offerings and half-glimpsed shadowy figures. Been there, seen that, thanks…
It’s five years since young Chris Copeland (the characters mostly bear their real-life names) lost his father in a mysterious hunting incident. Locals blame Bigfoot – obviously-- so Chris sets out with some pals and a hired crew of documentary-makers to investigate the Alabama woods where his father died and to find out the truth behind the legends. He doesn’t do what you or I might do (I certainly would) and stay at home, keep away from the place where his Dad died and not become a hunter. But there you go, that’s cheap-end Hollywood for you…
Hunting the Legend is no better and no worse than the hundreds upon hundreds of found-footage types we’re inundated with these days. As usual the script consists of little more than whiny kids shouting at each other – “What do you mean?”, “I don’t know what I’m doing any more!” – or else at something they’ve seen in the woods, whereupon they shriek “Oh my God! Oh my God” before we’re treated to endless footage of running feet and wobbly torch beams.
It begins and ends the way these films generally do – title cards portentously explaining how the footage came to be and what happened to those who made it. But we’ve seen all this far too often now. Yes, dark forests at night are scary, we suspected as much even before Blair Witch. Hunting the Legend throws in a few skinned rabbits hanging from trees, a primitive encampment littered with random remains and a mysterious figure in a (wait for it) cabin in the woods. What it singularly fails to deliver is anything remotely scary or unsettling, content just to tick off the expected clichés without bothering to give them a new spin or offer up anything we’ve not seen a hundred times before.
Cheap, cheerful, inoffensive and nothing if not watchable, Hunting the Legend treads no new ground but it will probably just about pass muster for those who still can’t quite get enough of this sort of thing.