"What?! You paid me $25 to star in this piece of shit and the check bounces?! Damn you, Kevin Kangas!"Shortly after the murder scene we are treated to the longest opening credits in the history of cinema. Again, I wish I was exaggerating. Not only does "Hunting Humans" feel the need to list its main actors and key behind-the-scenes men in its opening minutes, it decides to name off every single fucking person involved in the movie's production. And not in that scrolling text you see at the end of movies, either. Oh, no. Everyone gets a fair share of screen time on a fading marquee that takes approximately six hours to finish before the movie actually begins.
Then again, maybe I shouldn't complain, since reading names for hours is infinitely more interesting than "Hunting Humans" itself. Along with smearing Vaseline on his camera lens, Kangas has also mastered the art of having his movie's story told almost entirely in internal monologue. In reality, the film is roughly 10 percent dialogue, 10 percent action, and 90 percent Aric waxing on about why he loves killing, or how he goes about killing people, or how smart he is, or basically anything else comes to mind. And before you send me a bunch of condescending emails telling me my percentages are off, bear this in mind: I studied math at the same school Kevin Kangas learned filmmaking.
So, after a fifteen-minute interlude featuring nothing but shots of Aric driving a Kia up and down some city streets, we are shown that he spends his days working for a mortgage company. And it's not even a prestigious mortgage company: Instead, it's one of those seedy, shady-looking ones that seem to pop up in strip malls everywhere. He walks in, greets a receptionist who honestly looks more like a pig than a human, and sits at his desk. The whole time the monologue is still going.
Here is the problem "Hunting Humans" presents a reviewer. As I mentioned before, the movie is roughly an hour and a half long, but in that hour and a half, almost nothing happens. It is the cinematic equivalent of a humorless Seinfeld, one where all the actors have been replaced with even less funny community college dropouts.
In fact, for the next forty-five minutes or so, basically the same thing happens over and over. Aric stalks a person who has no connection to the plot, kills him, then goes back to work, while the monologue praises how smart and untouchable he is.
And then, a rival serial killer named "Dark" shows up.
I think now's the time to stop and say something else to you up-and-coming film makers. This may be more important than the last lesson, so please pay attention closely:
Never, ever, ever name your character "Dark."
I mean, seriously. "Dark." Why is he named that? Did his parents tire of conventional names and decide to name their child a possible answer to the question "what's it look like outside"? Did the killer himself (who is basically the exact same "cold, conniving killer" as Aric) decide to take that moniker when he started stabbing people? I mean, I think I knew a "Dark" in high school but he just called himself that, and as I recall he spent his time watching "The Crow" six times a day and huffing rubber cement at the graveyard.
Dark is a lot like Aric, only better at everything. Except acting, of course. As far as that goes, the movie's pretty much a twenty-way tie. Regardless, Dark has apparently been stalking Aric the whole movie and lets him know by murdering one of his victims before Aric himself can do it.
Okay, seriously. What fucking purpose does this serve? Why is there any need at all for one of your main characters to dress up like a fucking secretary if you're not going to explain it?
This puts Aric in a tizzy. He hires a private detective to track the person who is tracking him, and then nothing else happens for a good long while. Eventually Aric comes to find that Dark, too, had hired a private dick to trace him, so Aric starts stalking the detective.
Aric is not only a great serial killer. Along with stabbing people and shooting people, he is also a self-proclaimed "master computer hacker." He finds the detective's house and breaks in, then proceeds to log onto his computer terminal. However, there are a few problems: One, the computer is password-protected, and two, it is the only PC scientifically proven to be older than God himself.
I know it's kind of a played-out thing to point out, but I'm pretty sure it should be some sort of felony for a screenwriter to jam a bunch of technical jargon in a movie when he clearly knows nothing about computers. This movie was made in 2002, yet the computer Aric "hacks" offers up a DOS prompt asking for a password. When he can't figure out the password on his own, he launches into this diatribe, going on about a program Kangas was clearly enamored with.
"So I did what any hacker would. I installed a program on his computer that would copy every key he hit, every Web page he looked at, every file he accessed. It's not a virus so no virus checker will find it – it just logs keystrokes."
The password's "What the hell am I doing with my life." Kevin Kangas uses a different diary entry for his password every week.
Oh, so a keylogger. Thanks for the explanation, dumbass.
So, after using this incredible hacking program, Aric gets into the detective's computer and gets the dirt on Dark. A few minutes later he kills the detective and Dark shows up, ready to kill someone himself.
Despite his stupid name, I have to admit that Dark can be a pretty interesting character. Until this point in the movie we never actually see him. When he walks onscreen, however, he steals the show, mostly because he is wearing women's clothing. Without explanation. When you see a cross-dressing serial killer in a movie, he is usually wearing makeup in a dress. Something that says "hey, I am a psycho and I wear clothes that obviously belong to a woman."
This is not the case with Dark. Instead of a skirt or something, he wears a pink tube-top and woman's executive jacket with padded shoulders. And, again, this is never explained. It is almost as if the movie goes out of its way to ignore this fact, like the only person who would take the role was some cross-dresser at the bus stop and they're trying to downplay the fact.
TOTAL WRECK - crazy-eyed hound is covered in cobwebs, has a vespiary on back, graffiti on side and savage thirst for boat fuel. Frankly, I'm in over my head. He's in room 115 at Motel 6, yours free. 555-2851
Yes, it's the perfect form for surviving a car crash. But it's also the perfect form for so much more, like surviving the trauma of reading any news headline in 2016.
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