After learning that her new husband touches her daughter inappropriately, Morgan’s plans to leave him unwittingly turn into the fight of her life. This is the premise for Director Aleshia Coweser Jackson thriller about domestic abuse, ‘Hunther’.
Not long after the marriage, Charlie makes a pass at Lauren. Morgan finds out but doesn’t confront him. You would wonder why a loving mother would hesitate to confront her husband for assaulting her child. She however decides to keep an eye on him and soon finds out that she really doesn’t know the man she married. He sees him meet up with another lady at a bar. We find out later that the lady is the girl Charlie had been convicted of sexually assaulting whilst he was in high school. She had made a deal with him that got him a lighter sentence and she was expecting to collect her monetary compensation they had agreed on which was long overdue.
Morgan soon finds out that she knows nothing about the man she married and his past. She decides to park and sneak out with her daughter one night. But that doesn’t go as planned and things take a turn for the worse from there.
The story now becomes essentially a hunt for Morgan and Lauren.
We are never shown how Charlie and Morgan met or how they fell in love. We are just forced to assume that Morgan was absolutely sure about her decision to marry Charlie that nothing else mattered to her. She didn’t care to know his past or how safe her teenage daughter might be around him.
At some point you start to question how are why Charlie is able to stalk and track down. Charlie comes off as some so in charge and in control of what he’s doing. He seems too prepared and organized and you are left wondering why. What really is his motivation? What is he really looking for from Charlie and Laureen? Sadly however, these questions really never get answered.
A lot of the plot points seem questionable. Why aren’t Morgan and Lauren trying hard enough to escape? From the viewers perspective it does look like they were presented with many opportunities to escape the danger they find themselves in but they simple didn’t show enough signs of urgency.
Charlie is stopped by the police at one point. Their interaction is intense. The officer even asks about who he has in the trunk of the car. Surprisingly neither Morgan or Lauren makes an attempt to escape. We soon find out that the cop is Charlie’s old buddy. With whom he shares a secret with. Their secret somewhat sets the tone for a lot of the chaos and confusion that happens in this film.
Talent wise, April Parker Jones does a decent job with her portrayal as Morgan. We see how in love she is with Morgan at their wedding and how stunned she is when she realizes she might have made a mistake marrying him. Every other emotion in-between, she does well to lead us on and get it invested in the film.
Hassan Johnson provides all the callousness and viciousness that is expected from a man such as Charlie. He cuts the perfect shape for a cold, calculative and psychopathic lover. But we don’t get to feel the full range of his emotions. We are not exactly sure what Charlie’s real motivations are and why he is so bent on not letting Morgan go. Nonetheless, no one empathizes with an abusive man so you are left not to care.
Several times I asked myself, “how difficult is it to leave an abusive and possessive man?”. But I guess I would never know because, perhaps because I am a man and would never find myself in a situation such what Morgan finds herself in. I found myself also questioning how
In the end ‘Hunther’ doesn’t feel like just another film that talks about domestic violence in relationships. It comes out one that seeks to show that victims can have the last laugh.
‘Hunther’ looks exceptionally great for a low budget indie film. It is well shot and edited and makes use of a great color pallet that seems to complement the films tone. Morgan, really does about vulnerable confused and afraid in the scenes that requires her to be. You are forced to share in her pain and frustration as well. When she gets her moment to retaliate you can’t help but be happy for her.
I would rate this film 7/10. Even with some loose holes in the story ‘Hunther’ is strong enough film on the subject matter. It cautions as well as reminds you of some the hints that you might be stepping into a bad relationship that could end you up with an abusive partner. Most importantly, you are forced to think about this, “when is the right time to leave?”.
Through and through, Jackson shows a lot of promise as a director. She has a voice and she is determined to use it to speak for women. Her intentions are clear with this film. She chose to make a film that seeks to empower woman who find themselves as victims of domestic violence. Hopefully she doesn’t relent being that voice.
‘Hunther’ is now available on amazon video to rent or buy and will be available for streaming on TUBI starting October 21st.