Saturday, June 2, 2012

Movie Review: Hunger (2009)


Hunger is one of those weird movies that I watched randomly, knowing that I should probably be watching other, probably better, movies. You know what I mean? I thought this one would just be a fluke and I would forget about it as soon as it was over, but it actually kinda got to me on some level. Hunger is a bit predictable, not terribly original, and is most likely a total bore to anyone who doesn't get into it right away, but I still liked it.

Five strangers wake up in a dark, underground cave-type setting with no way out. They are trapped in one small room with a strange clock on the wall and a couple hundred gallons of water in four barrels. A cryptic note leads them to discover their captor's objective: to see how long they can last without food, and whether they are willing to do the unthinkable as their hunger deteriorates their bodies.


Lori Heuring as Jordan is the only recognizable face to me, as she has had relatively smaller roles in some other movies I've seen (most recently, the uninspiring 2006 flick Wicked Little Things). It's clear from the beginning that she is the star of the movie, and that she is also the smartest and most rational character of the five. The other characters include the less rational and mouthy Luke, the timid and untalkative Alex, the fragile and weak Anna, and Grant, Jordan's closest ally who is just as rational-thinking as she is and one of the only people to actually try to do something to get out of the situation.

Yes, these characters are a bit cliche, and yes, these are exactly the kinds of characters that you would expect to be in a movie like this. However, I'm letting that slide a bit because in reality, these are also the kinds of characters that you need in a movie like this, for the simple reason of creating conflict. No conflict, no story - it's a basic literature/movie rule. The conflict in this story is that these people are hungry and dying after several days and weeks without food. He has specifically chosen these people for their differing personalities. The question then becomes who will be the first to crack, and who will be the first to be killed for food (because you know it's gonna happen eventually), and how it will all play out. And while all this is interesting to watch, I really think that this movie at the core is about Jordan, and her resilience and refusal to become a "savage" (as she puts it).


The supposed scientist that's behind all this is unnamed and his motives or reasoning behind why he's doing what he's doing is almost painfully obvious from the beginning. I actually didn't mind his reason for kidnapping these people even though it was not for any real purposeful gain other than something purely personal. Flashback scenes reveal to the audience that as a young boy, the scientist was involved in a car accident that left his mother dead instantly and him pinned in the seat next to her, trapped for several weeks. See where this is going? Because of this man's guilt or inability to understand his own actions (specifically: eating his dead mother's flesh to stay alive) he seems to have become obsessed with studying other people in a situation similar to what he went through. Human skeletons in the room let the victims know that he has done this before and it hasn't worked out well for the others. But I have to say, I don't really see what the scientist thinks he is going to learn from all of this.

Sidenote: This is really irrelevant, but I have to point out the fact that this movie boasts one of the grossest and dirtiest sex scenes I have seen in a movie, and not because of the acts committed. Thinking that they've gained control over the others and that they will "win" their captor's game, two characters decide to have some raunchy sex in the water room. They have been trapped for over 20 days by this time - with no showers. Ewwwww. I'll chalk it up to hunger/captive insanity or whatever, along with the moral breakdown of the characters, but that's... just gross. 


The gore from the eventual cannibalization of one captive is mostly unseen but I really liked the scene when it finally happens. It is revealed in a very subtle, yet powerful, way and was very effective. The rest of the camera work is pretty standard, the editing is nicely paced, and overall the movie doesn't look that bad. It starts out a little annoying because the scientist doesn't turn the lights on in the room until the victims have been in captivity for three days. The first ten or fifteen minutes of the movie are almost in total darkness with only a small circle of blue light on the characters' faces. This went on a little too long in my opinion and they should have turned the lights on sooner.

I think it's kind of weird that I liked this movie as much as I did. Hunger isn't something I'd usually get excited over, but the way the story is revealed and played out was much different than I expected. It's labeled as horror, though I would call it more of a psychological drama and a pretty good one if you like this sort of thing. Don't go out of your way to see it, but I don't think you'll be too disappointed if you do see it.


18 comments:

  1. This is one of those movies which shows up suddenly on DVD, yet still manages to capture my curiosity. Thank you for being the one to brave this one for the rest of us :)

    Still not sure what it is with most horror films like this, that the film makers constantly feel the urge to cram in some nasty looking sex scenes. Is someone really getting off on these scenes being included, or is it the director not having any faith in keeping the audiences attention?

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  2. Sounds pretty good for another "wake up in a strange place let the horror commence" movies. Might check this one out!

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  3. This was a big surprise to me too. Expected a dumb cannibalistic gorefest, and ended up with a pretty unsettling psychlogical horror-thriller. Makes me hungry for more :)

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  4. I'll watch this movie cause I love movies with a Zombie like feel to it. :)

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  5. I thought this movie was really good. The beginning was a bit slow, but it really picked up!
    I think the sex scene was meant to show how they were barely even human anymore, and had really become like animals. But I agree, super gross, and the awkward eye contact Anna made with Alex during? I have no clue what the point of that was, it was weird.
    ***SPOILER ALERT***
    I thought it was so clever how Anna wrote on the lid of the water bin, and flipped it over, knowing the scientist would give into his curiousity and come see what she wrote.
    The only thing I had a problem with was the fact that there's no way Jordan would have been able to make it up that ladder, and the sun literally would have blinded her after being in the dark for so long. So that was a bit unrealistic, but other than that I really did like this movie!

    Ps I'm glad I discovered this blog, I like knowing other people's thoughts on movies, and none of my friends ever watch these kinds of movies.
    Have you seen captivity? With Elisha Cuthbert? It's kiiinda similar to this movie, but a lot less predictable.

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  6. i liked tis movie

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  7. Why was Jordan captured? She didn't have a story like the other 4.

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    1. Jordan let a prisoner die because she remember the prisoner rape her. This was when she was a doctor it was in the delete scene, so yeah it was a error make in the movie.

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  8. I actually just saw this movie last night on Netflix, I too though yeah ill check it out even though there might be something better on, but it also left me thinking about it afterwards,i love these kinds of movies I usually get this with most horror pshycological thrillers etc tho. OKay the part I don't get is on some other forums I read that the scientist knew that each person had killed before either on purpose or intentionally..where does it show that? there may have been a few seconds where I reached for a cigarette and missed it or something? but if somebody could clue me in on that part it would be awesome!

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    1. If you look at the movie in the first 40 mins or so they all talk about how they discover the link is that they all killed someone. The only one I missed was the story of the last person standing.

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  9. I just saw this movie and thought it was a hard watch, it got into my head afterwards. I think it wasn't as bad a movie as some of the reviews gave it.

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  10. yeah i wanna know the same thing did jordan kill anyone they dont say

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  11. I just watched this movie last night, and I've come to a different conclusion about why the scientist conducted this lovely experiment. I think he is trying to prove to himself that everyone else would have done the same thing as him in a situation where they're starving. He's trying to justify eating his mom by saying "it's human nature". Just a thought!

    I, for one, don't think I'd ever be able to eat a person no matter how hungry I was. I wouldn't even be able to eat raw chicken or beef, let alone human flesh! I would gladly volunteer to be eaten!

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  12. Idt I could eat someone either. I'd try to eat grass or stuff like tht. I'd live off my extra body fat first. Once u eat someone no matter if u had no choice ppl look at u different. Besides u have to live w tht for the rest of ur life too. I don't want tht on my conscience.

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  13. Haha I loved your review! Although I think his reasoning for continually testing people to see what they'd do in the situation is sort of a way to take away from his guilt. He has to keep reassuring himself that it's what anybody would have done if they were starving to death. So I guess that's his satisfaction, knowing that anybody else would have cracked and he's not a terrible, vile human being.

    But okay, I have to admit, the sex scene was really hot.

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  14. The sex scene comes right after the other girl tells Jordon that she's in control of the other two guys and that she's the one who decides who lives and who dies. The sex scene shows how she is controling Luke.

    This movie is a complete rip off of an episode of "Criminal Minds" from a couple of years earlier.

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  15. i just watch this movie few days ago, i think, the story seems not clear.

    why the Man put them down there?
    why choosing them?

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