The Hunter’s Anthology (2021): The Effectiveness of a Slow-Burn
Shows regarding the supernatural and mystical have become hit-or-miss over the last decade or so, as it can be hard to pin down the consistency of the supernatural elements with a compelling story. Which is why I was pleasantly surprised when I was introduced to the twisty turvy whodunnit-esque The Hunter’s Anthology.
Mac (played by Taylor August), is a demon hunter hot on the trail of a demon in New York City. The trail leads him to a subway car that includes 6 other passengers. As the subway comes to a creepy halt, Mac must figure out who the demon is among those in the subway. In order to do so, Mac must look into each passenger's soul and recount a supernatural encounter from their past to rule out who is human and who is demonic.
I will admit, I was extremely hesitant to check out The Hunter’s Anthology, but I luckily did and thoroughly enjoyed it. This series understands keeping its storylines both episodic and overarching. Yes, it is only 5 episodes but you never feel lost when a new episode starts and finishes. It also knows how to keep things interesting, as each separate story really takes some interesting twists and turns. This keeps you on your toes as to who could be perceived as a reliable narrator or a lying demon.
I truly commend the pacing of The Hunter’s Anthology as it understands how to effectively utilize a slow-burn. Each individual episode and the series as a whole successfully manages to slowly build tension for the viewers. While some stories use it better than others in the series, they still manage to keep the tension building throughout and culminate in an ending you couldn’t predict even if you tried.
The series also manages to create a creepy atmosphere and remain uneasy, leaving an unsettling feeling in your gut throughout. This is particularly evident in the story surrounding a newlywed couple, Clint and Madison (played by Olev Aleksander and Kristy Cloetingh), as they are stalked by an evil entity they can see through their apartment security cam. The eeriness of the story also benefits the slow-burn pace and helps bring the series above mediocrity.
Another aspect I can appreciate is the treatment of its characters. None are treated as idols to look up to or idiots to berate, rather they are human beings that are trying to get through a tough time. Although we can better sympathize with some more than others, that doesn’t make the other character struggles less relatable. Each character either struggles with grief, change, love, or mental illness and the writer never vilifies any of the characters for their decisions, which is something I respect. However, this does lead into a minor complaint I do have regarding the character of Jennifer (played by Sara Mari Lopez). I am not hating on her performance, rather I’m perplexed seeing a grown adult supposedly playing a kid. Every time she interacts with another character, they refer to Jennifer as “kid” or “kiddo”. It is quite evident that the actress is not a child, and every time I see someone refer to her as “kid”, it took me out of the viewing experience a bit.
The Hunter’s Anthology is a great look at using slow-burn horror to exceptional results. The series manages to slowly build tension and a creepy atmosphere both episodically and overall that when each story ends, you’re begging for more. It also adds to the ongoing whodunnit-esque mystery of who the demon is and the big twists and turns each story takes. Plus, it is always appreciated when characters are treated as humans in bad situations rather than idyllic versions of heroes. Despite some minor issues I have with the series as whole, it is still a fun watch as the end keeps its twists well hidden, and keeps you guessing till the very end.