Welcome to another installment of “no, you never heard of this one before, and i haven’t either”, with The Iced Hunter, an italian horror fantasy action film directed by Davide Cancila and about the titular “iced hunter” (you can tell his namesake was never intended to be translated in english, because it sounds like a fancy non-IBA approved cocktail or a Blooborne collaboration cafè item), a mysterious non-human warrior with fittingly mysterious origins and with memories not of his own, being trailed by the “Domini Lupi” sect, hellbent of getting rid of him at any cost.
Does this feel like a werewolf spiced live action “redo/reinterpretation” of the “Holy Iron Chain Order” arc in Berserk?
Aside it lacking any werewolves, my intuition (which i had when reading the synopsis on Amazon Prime Video)… was kinda right, the titular anti-hero protagonist has its own lore, even if that itself kinda reminds me of Berserk anyway, despite not being a rip-off at all. Leaving that aside, The Iced Hunter it’ss a fairly typical case of the hybrid humanoid boy with special powers meant to be used as a weapon but it’s raised as a person and not just a mere tool, etc.
It’s a typical dark fantasy affair overall, and it’s an obvious low budget production shot locally, as in it’s look like it’s shot in Tuscany (those woods look very familiar, i might be wrong but most of the cast it’s mostly from Tuscany and-or have Tuscanian sounding names, so…), an amateur effort but a surprisingly passionate effort nonetheless, to the point you’re willing to overlook some of the odd choices or “errors” most likely born out of limited budget or time.
Like, the fact it concerns a sect of murderous holy knights, monsters and demons but it also takes place in modern times, leaving one to wonder about some of the details about the characters and setting, which is mostly accounted for, but just begs the question if it was that hard to simply set it all in the medieval times anyway. Just seems way more trouble to include stuff like old timey but definitely not mediaval water faucets or automobiles into the narrative.
But despite that and the overall low budget, the movie manages to be surprisingly watchable, the narrative flows fairly well and makes you willing to overlook most of the flaws and stuff like some utterly ridiculous wigs or sudden outburst of hammy overacting (or cringey accented jokes), since most acting it’s actually quite okay, even if some actors seem to have been redubbed… despite being and speaking italian.
But i’m nitpicking.
The effects aren’t bad either, sure the swords aren’t Sonny Chiba masterworks and the gore is economical, but i expected as much, the masks and monster make up though it’s surprisingly good, i’ve seen FAR, far worse in movies that has 10 times the budget.
I haven’t got much else to say, honestly i’m impressed, for Davide Cancila (here directing and writing) this is definitely not a bad first go at a feature lenght film, at all, so if you’re intested in some action horror fantasy on a budget, this might be worth a watch on Amazon Prime Video, or anywhere else (in 2020 it also got a DVD release by CG Entertaiment, btw) just keep in mind it’s very humble and low budget in scope.
But it definitely doesn’t lack in effort and moxie. A nice, convincing lil’ surprise.