Directed by Patrik Syversen
Its the summer of 1974. Four friends have planned a recreational weekend hiking and camping in the forest. At a remote truck stop they pick up an anxious hitchhiker who only after a short ride demands they stop the vehicle. She is clearly frightened of somethingbut what she cant begin to describe in her carsick terror. Suddenly the group are ambushed and left unconscious.
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★★★★ review by Gore Blimey on Letterboxd
Also known as Manhunt, Rovdyr is a Norwegian horror film with a fairly simple plot. In a nutshell, a group of young people travelling in a campervan are ambushed, and soon find themselves in the middle of the woods, being hunted for sport.
At first the main four characters are quite annoying. Roger is short-tempered and rude. Mia stupidly throws the van keys into the woods. Camilla has a habit of shouting when she should be silent. But once the action really starts (marked by the first time we hear the terrifying sound of the hunting horn) this is soon forgotten. As the friends run for their lives, things get brutal and there are some very tense scenes indeed.
The gore effects are impressively effective. Jump scares are used sparingly, but used well. And the photography employs a hand held camera, often at uncomfortably close range. This all adds to the feeling of disorientation and of not knowing what to expect next. The 'hunters' have no dialogue, and we find out almost nothing about them, reinforcing the lack of connection to us, and thus removing any sense of humanity they might have. This makes them feel all the more intimidating and impenetrable.
Rovdyr tries hard to recreate a movie like The Last House On The Left (1972), I Spit On Your Grave (1978), The Hills Have Eyes (1977) or The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974). The final product is deliberately grainy, with faded colours, and filmed in almost a documentary style - all very evocative of this genre of film and the time period. It follows a familiar premise of outsiders from a very different culture being assaulted by the unfamiliar environment and its inhabitants. Rovdyr is set in 1972, the same year The Last House On The Left was released, and even uses music taken from that film. It also plays a haunting song over the closing credits, which manages to feel both beautiful and disturbing at the same time, and fits well with the 1970s exploitation film feel. You will find it hard to get the music out of your head for some time afterwards.
And rather than opting for a blunt twist or shock ending, I really liked the subtle but unsettling final scene.
Despite a low budget, and a cast of mostly unknown (at the time) actors, Rovdyr is an effective horror film and thriller, with convincing performances and enough tension to maintain my full attention throughout. I certainly think it's worth watching if you're a fan of the genre, and don't have an issue with subtitles.
★★★★ review by Dayna Newman on Letterboxd
This Survival Slasher film from Sweden is quite entertaining and can be brutal at times.It's dubbed with English subtitles but that doesn't take away because there isn't that much intelligent dialogue or anything that would be crucial if you missed it, such as a twist .
The plot is simple. A van full of 20 somethings get lost on an abandoned road in the woods and then are hunted by Swedish hillbillies for sport.
There are some cool traps and good kills .There is no real character development but that's ok because most of them aren't around long enough for the viewer to really care.It is suppose to take place in the 70's and has somewhat of a retro feel to it.
I like that the music played in the beginning was very reminiscent of "The Road Leads To Nowhere" as an homage to " Last House on The Left".It's an above average survival slasher and I think most slasher lovers would enjoy it.The effects were done really well and done old school without the use of CGI..
★★★½ review by Dimitri on Letterboxd
not a bad one, the plot is not a gem of originality, it’s just a well known “string” used often but it do the job : keeping the pace, keeping entertained during the hunt and the killings.
Characters fairly played and good amount of gore, without transcending into bloodbath but enough to not feel it missing
A movie I liked!
★★★★ review by Jesse on Letterboxd
This has got to be one of the most rudimentary plotted and primitively accomplished horror movies of the (still relatively young) new Millennium, but personally I appreciated it a lot more than the vast majority of hi-tech computerized and wannabe trendy & intellectual flicks nowadays. And yes, I do realize I sound like an embittered old man! "Manhunt" is a prototypic so-called backwoods survival thriller and, moreover, a straightforwardly obvious ode to the pioneer and granddaddy of ALL backwoods survival thrillers "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre". The resembling plot is the most apparent tribute, of course, but director/co-writer Patrik Syversen expresses his respect and admirations for Tobe Hooper's horror landmark through a handful of minor details in particular, like for example the characters' similar minivan and the year in which the events supposedly take place, 1974, the release year of TCM. Setting the film in the early 70's has another great advantage, by the way, namely the elimination of some horrible clichés like the adolescent characters talking about their Facebook account the entire time and – most importantly – the elimination of the phrase: "I can't get a signal on my mobile phone!". Back then, girls also weren't as stupid as to go on a camping trip wearing make-up and stiletto heels, which makes it a lot easier for them to run from their assailants later on in the film. Anyways, so the year is 1974 and this quartet of youngsters – I deliberately refrain from calling them friends – are heading out to the middle of Norwegian nowhere to go camping. They pick up an extremely nervous female hitch-hiker at a roadside diner and this quickly turns out to be a very bad idea. Shortly after, they find themselves relentlessly pursued by a trio of seemingly motiveless but ultimately savage huntsmen. The biggest trump of "Manhunt" is undeniably the tense and ominous atmosphere. The film isn't just set in the year 1974; it often actually feels like you're watching a 70's flick, what with its raw cinematography and nihilistic tone. Another big trump here is the characterization of the villains. I usually prefer to know a bit about the bad guys' background and/or motivations, but the fact that they remain mysterious, vague and silent throughout the entire film here actually contributes to the gritty overall tone and disturbance level. We only know that they hunt down and set booby traps for human beings instead of animals and that they're unbelievably cruel. For example, they use barb wire to tie up their victims instead of regular rope and stab women in the back of their necks without hesitating. Needless to say "Manhunt" can be considered quite shocking and sick. I assume that the majority of the available budget went to the make-up department to buy blood and fake intestines. Money well spent, as the killing sequences are truly a horror fanatic's delight! The filming locations, acting performances and rough editing are also very suitable to the type of film the makers wanted to deliver.
★★★½ review by Chris Ward on Letterboxd
Bloody Norwegian grindhouse throwback that has little in the way of plot but some wonderfully gory kills.
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