Hunter’s Moon (also known as The Orchard) follows a family’s move to a quiet life in the country. As the father, mother and three teenage daughters enter the small town several reveals are made. We learn that the house this family has just purchased had a previous owner who died tragically. At first, this information was supposed to be a secret from the teenage daughters. We also learn the oldest daughter, Juliet (Katrina Bowden), is quite flirtatious with some of the locals she encounters in the new town.
The family of five soon arrive at their new home and unpack, but it’s not long until the husband and wife are urgently called to travel due to work reasons. With no choice, they leave Juliet in charge of the house. Juliet decides to be a risk-taker and begins to drink some of her dad’s alcohol cabinet. She invites her sisters to join her, encouraging them to live a little and have a private party. They agree, but it’s not long until the family party with siblings is interrupted.
A group of young men with unpleasant intentions decide to band together and break into the house. To make matters worse, this group soon make a major discovery that can’t be explained. It would appear there is a giant monster outside the house with a thirst to kill. On his way to the house to deal with all the trouble is the town’s sheriff (Thomas Jane), who also finds more than he bargained for.
Hunter’s Moon begins with a few interesting, mysterious elements relating to the plot. At first, nothing is very clear or explained. As the plot moves forward, these elements of mystery continue, which I assume was done to keep viewers invested and curious about what the earth is going on. The film enjoys showing a few minor reveals on the way, but the core plot is certainly a mysterious one. But sadly, even with some mysterious elements introduced, make no mistake, Hunter’s Moon is a horrible nightmare and not a good one. The plot is highly vague, and the dialogue and characters are emotionless, dull and cheesy. Sure, the film attempts to reveal some mysteries along the way, but it’s filled with so many gaps that even at the end, many things are skipped over and never explained.
While I loved the cast line-up in this film, the characters are honestly painful, and the performances are equally so. If you are a fan of seeing actors Thomas Jane, Jay Mohr, and even Sean Patrick Flannery, they are all either briefly on-screen or have an unforgettable presence. Honestly, I question why on earth actors like Thomas Jane are starring in films like this. To put it simply, no one is likeable here.
Visually, the film is quite dark, and most kills occur off-screen in an attempt to keep the viewers guessing. The creature’s reveal is exciting, but again, it’s brief and leaves the audience with more questions making the film sillier to the point that it’s not even ‘so bad it’s good’.
Overall, there’s no polite way to say it; I was highly disappointed with this film. But granted, I know there will be audiences that love what’s on show here. For me, the characters are truly unlikeable, and the film’s story and the dialogue feels vague, emotionless, and uninteresting. Big names, including Thomas Jane, are ultimately briefly on screen, forgettable or sadly unforgettable in their performances. It’s not even ‘so bad it’s good- it’s just a messy horror film that could have been something far more memorable.