(The gist: I loved the premise and the themes; that was enough for me. The movie, itself, was nothing amazing, but it was completely worth the watch.)
I wrote a book (Savages) ultimately about what happens to people when their necessities and creature comforts are taken away. I created a fiction around this idea because the savagery in people interests me, because I believe it to be at everyone’s core.
So as the premise of Hunger unfolded, it definitely appealed to me. A scientist, who had fed on his dead mother in a car crash when he was a child, abducts five strangers. He places his subjects in a hole, provides water and a weapon, and waits to confirm that all people will turn to cannibalism when hungry enough. He takes everything away from them to expose their animalistic nature and alleviate his own guilt.
Right up my alley.
The film managed to develop at a reasonable pace, a pace some might even consider slow or dull. However, I appreciated it considering the circumstances. The approach was gritty and lower budget, which amplified the empathy with the characters. You could feel like you were in the hole with them as each day ticked by and as the hunger grew.
The players were all introduced and developed enough, though they did polarize to purely good and purely evil as the plot progressed. Realistic or not, that divergence is always a bit expected and overdone. I would have liked to see a little more struggle in them, though that approach may have taken away from the surprise exposure of each’s nature.
The killer was hinted then revealed then explained. He had a Hannibal vibe in the childhood cannibalism, though Hannibal executing it himself in adulthood was far more terrifying and interesting. He also had a Saw resonance in how he deeply researched his victims then selected them largely based on past crimes then allowed them to play out against each other. He chooses killers and an “innocent” control subject, which, of course, makes the control subject intriguing.
The gore was mostly suggestive but definitely enough to make you cringe, especially if you are a pregnant woman who endured months of morning sickness watching a movie about cannibalism. It was almost more effective with the subtle approach. There was enough to convey the point and unnerve you but not enough to desensitize your mind by fixating on it. With something as biologically disturbing as cannibalism, it does not take much to get the desired reaction from your audience.
Ultimately, the movie was remarkably unremarkable. The acting was no so vivid that I was enthralled, but it was not so poor that I noticed. The characters were not so developed that I was on the edge of my seat for their survival (or demise), but they were not so flat that I simply wished them dead and gone. The plot was not so brilliant that it bent my mind, but it was not so mundane or overdone that I rolled my eyes. It did not change my life, but I did not regret investing the time.
For me, it was a premise that spoke to me, an idea in which I have invested a lot of time and on which I have a lot of opinions.
Hunger was entertaining; it was enough. Overall, worth a watch.