Short Film Review: IT HUNGERS: Adventures With An Evil Knife

It Grows, the long, short film of 45 minutes, written and directed by Michael Bowler, is a bit of a mixed bag. It’s entertaining, and has some really great practical locations, and the plot is interesting enough. However, some of the devices used, such as voice over and an incredibly over the top score detract from moments that could have been more tense.

We begin in the present day, at a ranch. One, Bob Murphy (Will Kelly) whose voice over explains a bit of our opening scene, sets up the back story as to why he was at the Ranch where there were a bunch o’ murders took place. We then cut back back to the time of the crusades, 1557 AD. We hear the Inquisitor General (Marcus Seoighe) tell the head of a Coven (Dave Swift) why he sucks so hard, and why they gonna burn his ass at the stake. We hear of an evil knife, which the Inquisitor orders be buried in the surrounding wilderness. Cut back to present day, to Uncle Willy (John “JLowe” Lowe) C.C.(Damien Mitchell) and Joe(Riccardo Johnson), and Vera(Grace Hendy)and Kate(Rosey Hayes) visiting the ranch, in the hopes of winning a photography contest, and 500 euros(in dollars that’s 650, roughly). Also in the woods near the ranch are two hunters, one older gentlemen(Eugene O’Neegan) and a dude named Bubba(Mister Magoo…not kidding that’s the credit). Bubba finds the knife while trying to find his dog, and the killings begin.
The film takes places in Ireland. Uncle Willy rules. There’s a very hilarious transition from the Coven leader burning alive, to C.C. and Joe in the present day singing along to a song featuring the vocals of a high-pitched woman. This has nothing to do with anything, but it’s funny to see a dude from Ireland in a sweatshirt that reads, “New Jersey,” on the front. Just revenge for all the doofuses down in the states who wear Ireland shirts, I guess.
The piece has a great uses of practical locations. From the dungeons during the Crusades bit, to the wandering in the forest bit. One lesson all indie filmmakers should take to heart; if you can find a good, visually dense and creepy practical location, by all means, use the Hell out of it. Session 9 comes to mind.
The score gets really over the top. It’s very distracting from the visuals. Overpowers them mightily. It gets very Dead Can Dance-y, mixed with E.S. Posthumus. When you have one character hiding from another, fearing for their lives, score just detracts from some nice sound effects of steps and creaking wood, which could racket up the tension.
The actors do a fine job. Not one bad performance in the flick. No performance makes you harp on the acting, and focus on that more than the events at hand.
Some of the narration at the end seems needless.  It takes you out of the present moment, as it is spoken in the past tense. Film is a visual medium. If I can see what’s happening on screen, voice over seems to be redundant. Perhaps, just the recollection inner monologue at the very beginning, and very end? Either way, much like the score, voice over is over used.
However, for a 45 minute short, this baby kept my attention, and was well executed. Give it a looksee. Just don’t watch it with Uncle Willy. That guy’s a bastard.

Mike Snoonian

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since 2009 Mike has written about independent horror, science fiction, cult and thrillers through his own blog All Things Horror along with various other spots on the web. Film Thrills marks his attempt to take things up a notch, expand his viewing and writing horizons and to entertain and engage his audience while doing so. When Mike's not writing or watching movies, you can find him reading to his little girl, or doing science experiments with her, or trying to convince her that the term "chicken butt" comes from people putting chicken nuggets down their underwear. at age five, she's too smart to believe most of what he says.

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  1. Meshugganaut

    I have to be honest here and say, I never expected a review like this. It was… well, unexpected really. For a B-movie of this nature along with a budget of absolutely ZERO, this review has surprised me and you hit on the technical sides of it perfectly: good and bad; the music and voice over for example. By the way, Mister Magoo is the dog, Bubba, not the actor lol. And that New Jersey thing made me laugh. 🙂


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