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Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Project Wolf Hunting (2022)

Over the last several years the genre films coming out of South Korea have been hitting it out of the park. Movies like Train to Busan, # Alive, and Monstrum have been some of the coolest new horror flicks that I’ve seen. When my co-host Tim picked Project Wolf Hunting for the latest episode of the Bloodbaths and Boomsticks podcast I was very excited to watch it. Were my expectations met? Lets find out.

The movie opens with a prisoner being transported from the Philippines to South Korea. A family member of one of his victims sets off a bomb and kills a bunch of folks. That leads to the authorities changing their plans. Instead, a large group of convicts are loaded onto a freighter and sent back home via a sea route. You have their guards, a bunch of bad guys, and the ship’s crew. Unfortunately, there is a jail break and lots of people get brutally killed during and afterwards. This also leads to them cutting all communications and the engines being damaged causing the ship to come to a stop in the middle of the ocean.

As if that isn’t bad enough the blood from the bodies goes down a drain and drips onto a secret cargo. Seems that a criminal organization was sneaking a medical experiment from World War II back to South Korea. It is an unstoppable killing machine that is also immortal, which is important later. The gang is run by a man who is researching immortality and the creation of super soldiers or perhaps just super killers. It isn’t clear. The monster goes thru the ship murdering everyone that it finds in some of the stickiest and gooiest ways possible. There is also a twist with one of the prisoners that sets up what I think are some intended sequels. Many folks die… well basically everyone actually… before we get to the big reveal at the end.

For a movie that is just over two hours long I have to say I wasn’t bored at all. They waste little time getting to the action and it never lets up once it starts. That said I did find myself confused at times since there is little to no character development. I know what you are going to say… “John this is a horror action flick who cares?”. But I’d point out that one of the reasons movies like Train to Busan or #Alive are so memorable is because you care about the characters. Here they were just there to get mangled by either the escaped prisoners or the monster.

The Gore is satisfying
Want an example? The prison break was organized by what is clearly the villain of the movie. He is established as a bad ass and a homicidal maniac right away as he tears a dudes ear off with his teeth. It is his gang that frees everyone, and the other escapees defer to him. So, this is going to be the dude or at least he will be the point of conflict in the survivors when the monster shows up right? Nope just as that is about to happen, he repeatedly takes a sledgehammer to the face until his noggin’s is a pile of goo. Hell, the real reason they are in the situation with the monster and folks die is a character introduced towards the end of the movie and only exists to set up a sequel.

That brings me to my other big complaint about Project Wolf Hunter. While entertaining this movie clearly exists solely to setup sequels as the story here just establishes the experiments and where our augmented characters (yes there are more than just the monster) come from. Our one survivor, who is eventually established as our protagonist, literally washes up on a beach ready to get revenge right as the end credits are about to roll. I would have liked a complete story with an ending, even if it leads to sequels. There isn’t any resolution here and I felt cheated. I just spent two hours of my time, and this is how it ends? Damn it!

Decent looking creature
Now it sounds like I didn’t like the movie. In fact, there is enough gore and violence to keep my attention until the very end. Between the psycho criminals and the monster killing survivors we get all kinds of cool stuff on the screen. There is a scalping, throats get ripped out, limbs are snapped, ears chewed off, throats cut, faces torn out, organs torn out, legs lopped off below the knees, and a dude is beaten to death with his own arm. This doesn’t include the dozens of shootings featured during multiple gunfights. Though my favorite has to be the smashing of the gang leader as his head is turned to mush “Gallagher” style. Look that last one up kids… he was a funny dude. The creature design is also great so special effects wise this movie checked all the boxes.

I will be checking out the sequels and I recommend that if you get the chance, you should check out Project Wolf Hunter. It is a decent movie. Though I can say that this wouldn’t have made my top ten of last year and doesn’t come close to the storytelling we have gotten from other recent South Korean horror flicks. But overall, not too bad. 

© Copyright 2023 John Shatzer

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