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film review

In Climate of the Hunter, Mary Buss and Ginger Gilmartin star as sisters who attempt to reconnect with their friend Wesley, who may or may not be a vampire, after twenty years apart.Perm Machine Productions

  • Climate of the Hunter
  • Directed by Mickey Reece
  • Written by Mickey Reece and John Selvidge
  • Starring Mary Buss, Ginger Gilmartin and Ben Hall
  • Classification R; 90 minutes


3 out of 4 stars

For Canadians of a certain age, the phrase “Those who like it, like it a lot,” will conjure up an instant image of commercials for Alexander Keith’s India Pale Ale. But while watching the new outre psychological thriller Climate of the Hunter the other week, that slogan and shorthand for acquired taste kept rattling around in my skull. If you like movies that look like they were excavated from the ruins of 1970s grindhouse theatre, that favour the weird over the comprehensible and that would benefit from at least a passing familiarity with the subgenre known as “psycho-biddy” (or maybe “hag horror”), then you, dear reader, will like Climate of the Hunter a lot. Everyone else has probably stopped reading by now.

For his 27th (!) ultra-low-budget feature, Oklahoma filmmaker Mickey Reece – nicknamed the “Steven Soderbergh of the Sticks” – leans into the retro-kitsch horror aesthetic he’s been developing for his entire, remarkably resilient career. Ostensibly a movie about two middle-aged sisters (genre veterans Mary Buss and Ginger Gilmartin) fighting over the affections of a friend (Ben Hall) who may or may not be a vampire, Climate of the Hunter is less concerned with story than mood. A sensuous, trippy mood that successfully seduces – at least for those who can easily settle into these kinds of campy experiments. (Guilty!)

Are vampires real? Is sex all that matters in a relationship? Can we ever truly know our family? How red can blood possibly be? Just how disgusting were dinner-party dishes in the days before the Food Network? Reece poses all these questions and more with the gusto of a man on a personal mission – if not to satisfy his audience’s curiosity, then at least his own. So, you already know if Climate of the Hunter is for you. Enjoy the feast, or take comfort in the famine.

Climate of the Hunter is available digitally on-demand, including Apple TV/iTunes and Google Play, starting Jan. 12

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