Witch Hunter

Witch Hunter (2001)
Leo Films
Cast: Jean Francous Beaupre, Ray Galleth

The title of this Canadian film is quite misleading. There is no witch. There is little-to-no hunting. Also, the ’Horror’ label stamped on the side of the DVD box isn’t exactly accurate either. What we do have with ’Witch Hunter’ is a unique little movie, which addresses an issue which is seldom raised in film. In ’Witch Hunter, ’ three childhood friends decide to have a reunion in their hometown of Ar’Lei. This small town has become famous due to the legend of gold buried somewhere in the nearby mountains. The trio hike into the woods, but soon discover a mysterious force at work in the forest. Also, an archaeologist has come to Ar’Lei intent on finding the gold, and will stop at nothing to have it.

Instead of witches, ’Witch Hunter’ turns its sights on the plight of Native Americans. According to the legend, an entire tribe near Ar’Lei was wiped out by white men trying to find the gold. The three friends have been drawn to Ar’Lei in attempt to set things straight. From the opening narration, it’s clear that ’Witch Hunter’ has an agenda, and it’s an important one. As for the film itself, it does drag in places, but it’s brevity helps with this. Director Denis Paquet has given the film a nice look and the film is nicely edited as well. Also, it should be noted that the musical score to ’Witch Hunter’ is very good and helps add to the overall tension in the film. ’Witch Hunter’ turns out to be a suspenseful and intriguing thriller, but remember, it has nothing to do with witches.

’Witch Hunter’ flies onto DVD courtesy of Leo Films. The movie is presented full-frame. The image is clear, but does show a noticeable amount of grain. Despite this, the color representation is quite good, as most of the action takes place in the lush, green Canadian woods. It is unknown what film elements were used here, but it appears that the movie was shot on 16mm. The audio on ’Witch Hunter’ leaves more to be desired, as the dialogue is typically either muffled or distorted, so it can be very hard to understand what people are saying. However, the score sounds fine. There are no extras on this DVD. The box claims that ’Witch Hunter’ is ’A True Story’, so I would have welcomed a supplement elaborating on that statement. Also, at the end of the credits, they suddenly shift to the credits from ’Blood and Honor’, a Civil War film. Maybe the witch did that.