‘Warhunt’ Review: Witches Against WWII Soldiers
By Daniel Rester
The selling point of Warhunt in the trailers and on the posters is seeing a tough and rough Mickey Rourke in a WWII-set horror movie. While Rourke does show up for a few scenes, he isn’t the lead like some might expect. Even so, Warhunt has aspects besides just Rourke that help get it across as a fun enough action-horror flick. Him showing up and kicking ass while wearing an eyepatch is just a nice addition in this decent but forgettable piece.
Rourke’s Major Johnson sets the plot in motion by tasking a squad with finding a downed plane in 1945 Germany. They are accompanied by Walsh (Jackson Rathbone), who is to recover a secret item from the wreckage. After entering the gloomy forest setting, the soldiers realize that something supernatural may be messing with their heads.
Director Mauro Borrelli’s Warhunt is a serviceable piece of pulp that feels like a cross between Overlord (2018) and Predator (1987) in terms of plot development and setting. The antagonists aren’t experimental zombies or alien hunters though. Instead they’re witches who turn into — bad CGI — clouds of black crows and play deadly tricks on the commandos. Borrelli and his co-writers Reggie Keyohara III and Scott Svatos eventually add some backstory to the witches and the mission, but the fight for survival against the supernatural women takes up the main focus for much of the time.
The film is well shot and takes advantage of the damp woods to create an atmospheric environment. Rathbone also makes for a solid action hero, making Walsh a mysterious badass throughout. Some of the scenes of psychological trickery are effective too, as when the witches make the soldiers think they are eating a pig when in reality they are eating a dead man.
Interchangeable characters, occasionally poor editing, and some obvious budgetary restrictions on the effects knock Warhunt down a bit. While the witch angle in this period and setting adds some freshness, the fetch quest plot ultimately becomes routine. By the time most of the crew is picked off and the spells all used, the film doesn’t have much left to offer as it goes through a chaotic climax.
Warhunt offers enough B-movie thrills for undemanding viewing on a rainy Sunday, if you’re into the idea of Rourke gunning down witches that is. The film has some cool psychological and supernatural touches, though the overall script is too familiar. It’s too bad the plot never gets as weird as some of the individual witch spells shown.
My Grade: 6/10 (letter grade equivalent: B-)
Running Time: 1h 33min