Hounded Film Review

Having come from lower class and immigrant families, four friends make one last heist led by their leader, Chaz (Malachi Pullar-Latchman) to walk away with a small fortune to start anew. Tasked with stealing art, they find the event is a set-up to have them be abducted and made sport at the hands of the elite. Doused in piss to make them trackable, the four find themselves in a fight for survival against hounds and hunters on horseback.

Embracing two of the favorite British pastimes of classism from upper echelons of society and immoral hunting practices, Hounded is very much a product of Old Blighty. But does it pack enough bite to stand out?

Hounded does little to separate itself from the many ‘human hunting’ films that are out there. There is little in the way of twists and turns that won’t be seen as predictable, the lines between good and evil are clear from the beginning, and the social messaging is more to establish a strong sense of good vs evil instead of adding a deeper commentary. However, Hounded nails the fundamentals of the horror and thriller genre, giving it enough of a polish to push it into being memorable within the oversaturated genre.

The story is deeply engaging and touches on social issues without feeling like it is pandering to the audience or speaking down to them. The sense of corruption is established as being already deeply rooted and accepted, and there is little in the way of cliche dialogue acting to acknowledge the disparity between classes. The script is solid, believable, flows naturally, and never feels forced or insincere. As such, audiences will be quick to cheer on the hunted and scorn the elitist. The way the production captures that ‘us vs them’ by making a competent horror/thriller is, undeniably, its greatest strength.

Of course, this could not be accomplished without strong performances to back up the story and both Malachi Pullar-Latchman as Chaz and his cohort (Hannah Traylen) give amazing performances that fluctuate between fear and anger. Hannah, in particular, brings an abundance of personality into her role, and is a treat to see her stomp or blast away the elite. There are some notable names playing the bourgeois such as Samantha Bond, James Faulkner, & James Lance, yet they are more there to support the younger actors.

Visually, the production lacks polish, but this does not necessarily detract from the experience when the story and building of tension are the production’s best qualities. The score is suiting, blending into the story. Overall, the presentation here is serviceable and while a bit of flair could have really pushed the production, the rather simplistic approach is not detrimental. Regardless, for a debut film Tommy Boulding does impress. It will be interesting to see where he goes from here; off the back of a well-rounded, yet somewhat simple, first feature-length.

Hounded is a competently constructed piece of British horror, as writers Ray Bogdanovich & Dean Lines managed to inject a lot of life and personality into the production. Combine this with some genuinely intense moments and Hounded is an enjoyable outing in British horror. 

Hounded is Playing as Part of the 2022 FrightFest Line-up and will be Available October 31st Through Signature Entertainment

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