Frightfest Glasgow: Hunt Her, Kill Her (2023)

Director: Ryan Thiessen, Greg Swinson

Running Time: 89 Minutes

Starring: Natalie Terrazzino, JC Oakley III, Larry Bunton, Philip Zimny, Trevor Tucker

Appropriately opening the film is a danger sign, the first sight audiences see within an empty warehouse. As the camera glides across this location, the lights go out to mask the previously seen corners in darkness while David Risdahl's pulsing music plays. An appropriate sense of mood is conveyed through this introductory scene, as danger surely stalks within this vast layout where the film takes place within.

Intent on getting her and her young daughter's lives back on track, Karen (Natalie Terrazzino) takes the night shift cleaning a large warehouse. As she prepares for a long night working alone while worrying about her daughter's fever, she notices odd occurrences repeatedly popping up. This ramps us to reveal masked intruders also within the warehouse, storming out of the shadows armed with weapons and unsettling purpose.

The chances of outside help intervening dwindle as phones are destroyed and exits get chained-up, giving way to an unbearably tense cat-and-mouse game as masked figures stalk with vicious intentions in mind. There's no respite for Karen, as the inescapable scenario is highlighted by how the antagonists can be heard whenever they're not on-screen. The best the young mother can hope for is survival, as her every move counts to stay alive until the morning shift starts. This is phenomenally captured during an evasion which seemingly unfolds in one-take, making for a tense stand-out within a white-knuckle ride of a film.

Writer Greg Swinson and co-director Ryan Thiessen utilize a low-budget idea to maximum efficiency, making the most of the single location while crafting tension from the simplest of things. Central to that is Terrazzino, terrifically conveying the uphill battle Karen faces as she tries rebuilding her life, only to be met with invaders reviving the put-downs and abuse she suffered.

What the attackers underestimate is Karen's resourcefulness, as she focuses on staying ahead while weaponizing whatever comes to hand. The use of a plunger is a highlight, marking the escalating nastiness as the heroine asserts herself in this desperate fight for survival. Amidst the visceral violence lingers the specter of abuse, as Karen battles to overcome her trauma against these men that see themselves as big and scary, yet the masks coming off highlights how small and pathetic they truly are.

Hunt Her Kill Her made its International Premiere at Frightfest Glasgow