Happy Hunting
R0 - Australia - Umbrella Entertainment
Review written by and copyright: James-Masaki Ryan (29th December 2017).
The Film

"Happy Hunting" (2017)

Warren (played by Mark Dingle Wall) is an alcoholic drug addict drifter on the path to nowhere in life. But his path turns toward the south of the border after he learns that his ex-wife had passed away and left behind a daughter that he hadn't known about in Mexico. During his journey towards Mexico, he stops at the small town of Bedford Flats, a rural community deep in the desert that was a hunting town for buffalo many years ago. In the town he meets Steve (played by Ken Lally, a volunteer at an AA meeting who lets Warren stay at his home while passing through town. But this seemingly normal rural town has a sinister edge that takes him by surprise.

The town is full of hunters and their tradition is to round up stray drifters and have them let loose in the desert. For the outsiders it is their chance to run for their lives. For the townsfolk, it is hunting season. Guns, bows and arrows, trucks, bats, and anything you can think of can be used as weapons for killing while the men on the run are unarmed, unprepared, and unmatched. The few that are hunted become fewer, and hopes for survival in the desolate landscape is next to impossible...

"Happy Hunting" borrows a lot from many films prior, such as the hunter hunts the unarmed in "The Most Dangerous Game", the creepy rural setting in "Deliverance", and the desert survival setting from "The Hills Have Eyes". But the film is much more than a set of homages. It certainly touches on current issues in America, with the cultural divide between fellow Americans, the issue of the tensions with Mexico and the border control, the ever rising drug epidemic, and of course the arguments over the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution. Written and directed by Louie Gibson (son of Mel Gibson) and Joe Dietch in their feature film debut, is a very confident piece of work with great cinematography of the desert setting, a finely written piece in dialogue, and a plot that seems just over the edge of crazy but enough to be brutal and entertaining. There are some plotholes along the way. Did Warren just end up in this supposed annual hunt by coincidence? What do the people of the town do the rest of the year when drifters come on by? And most importantly is it feasible that a druggie could have his wits as sharp as he shows? Regardless of the minor issues, the film itself is a hell of a violent ride with a few surprises along the way.

The film was screened at various festivals in 2017, and won awards at the Atlanta Horror Film Festival (for Best Action Film), Fantastic Cinema Festival (for Audience Award), GenreBlast Film Festival (where it won six awards including Best Feature Film), and many more. This Australian DVD from Umbrella Entertainment represents the film its worldwide home video debut.

Note this is a region 0 NTSC DVD which can be played back on any DVD or Blu-ray player worldwide


Umbrella Entertainment presents the film in 2.35:1 with anamorphic enhancement in the NTSC format. Shot digitally on the Canon C100 MK2, the image has been color corrected to enhance the desolate areas, with golden browns for the desert scenes, greens and blue tints for the night scenes, and some blood soaked red in the nightmare scenes. The drone vista shots look especially great and the cinematography plays with focus especially on Warren's drug addicted panic scenes. The transfer is very good but there certainly are limitations with the standard definition transfer from a high definition source. Colors are not as vibrant as they could be but the darker scenes look quite good. There are no issues of compression errors or damage to the image, and is properly framed in the theatrical aspect ratio.

The film's runtime is 90:39.


English Dolby Digital 5.1
The original English track is presented in 5.1, with some minor portions in Spanish. The center speaker is used for the dialogue for the most part and is always clear and precise with no issues of distortion or hard to hear portions. The rest of the 5.1 soundscape is used for the music and sound effects and it is a very active track. Ominous music and pounding rhythms come loud and clear and so do the gunshots and crushing blows. It's a great audio track and very fitting with the environment.

There are burned-in English subtitles for some of the Spanish portions in a yellow font. About 5% of the dialogue is in Spanish and only a few of the lines are subtitled, and one of the screenshots above showcases an example of a subtitled scene.


Sadly no extras have been provided on the disc. Not even the trailer, which has been embedded below, courtesy of Umbrella Entertainment.


The packaging states the disc is region 4 only, but it is in fact a region 0 disc.


"Happy Hunting" is an interesting take on the survival horror, while nothing entirely new per say, it is a hell of a ride and a great indie feature tackling modern issues without bashing it over the audiences heads. Although a few heads of the characters get bashed in... Umbrella Entertainment's DVD gives good marks in video and audio but sadly it does not come with any extras, making the film recommended but the disc itself a difficult one to grab.

The Film: B Video: B+ Audio: A Extras: F- Overall: C+


DVD Compare is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program and the Amazon Europe S.a.r.l. Associates Programme, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.co.uk, amazon.com, amazon.ca, amazon.fr, and amazon.de.