Film Notes, Reviews

FrightFest review – Av (The Hunt)

My notes on Av (The Hunt)

This opens as if Psycho were an action movie – Ayse (Billur Melis Koç) is in a room with her lover, when the cops come in and kill him, and she has to go on the run from her husband Sedat (Ahmet Rifat Sungar) and his family and – of course – her own extended family, who all disown her as a whore.  None of her female relatives will give her help or shelter, and the whole country seems set against her – from officials who unquestioningly take the man’s side in any dispute to unsympathetic, miserable bystanders who have no instinct urge to help a wounded woman being tracked by men with guns.

Director Emre Akay, who co-scripted with Deniz Cuylan, leaves out the specifics of what’s gone wrong in the heroine’s marriage, and instead takes the model of First Blood – with Ayse in the role of Rambo, assailed on all sides but demonstrating survival skills in the woods, getting hold of weapons to fight back, and running a gauntlet which seems unlikely to have a happy ending.

There are a few moments of obviously well-researched detail about the unwritten law and the cynically-named honour system, such as the fifteen-year-old cousin dragged along on the woman hunt as a handy scapegoat in case murder charges arise because he’s underage and will get a lesser prison sentence if they’re caught.  Koç is credible as the sinewy survivor type, more naked prey than final girl – and Akay stages some nice scenes in misty woods.  It’s relentless and exciting, but also grim – with a sense of the monotonousness of entrenched male evil that’s hard to argue with but dramatically a little flat.  You’ll hate the bus driver a lot.

Here’s the FrightFest listing.


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