Hounded (reviewed by Lisa Marie Bowman)

In this British film from 2022, Leon (Nobuse Junior) is the head of a crew of thieves.  Yes, he spends his time breaking into people’s houses and stealing their stuff but he’s not that bad.  He’s just trying to raise the money to send his younger brother, Chaz (Malachi Pullar-Latchman) to a university.  Working with the two brothers are the perpetually angry Vix (Hannah Traylen) and the perpetually religious Todd (Ross Coles).

An antique dealer (Larry Lamb) hires the crew to beak into the estate of the Katherine Redwick (Samantha Bond) and steal a valuable ceremonial knife.  Unfortunately, it turns out that it’s all a set up and soon, the four thieves are being chased across the estate by Katherine and her family.  If the thieves can make it back to civilization, they’ll be safe.  If they can’t, then they’ll have to face the ceremonial knife.  The film is called Hounded because, just as in a fox hunt, the Redwicks use dogs to chase down their prey.  The dogs are cute and fear not, no harm comes to them.  The humans on the other hand….

There’s a lot of class struggle commentary to be found in Hounded.  The thieves are all working class and angry about not being given the same opportunities as the rich.  The Redwicks are so posh and refined that they basically come across as a caricatures.  They may be hunting people for sport but they’re very polite and proper about it and Katharine spends a lot of time talking about how the Redwicks always hunt with honor.  Unfortunately, while Samantha Bond is entertaining as the main villain, the rest of the characters are not particularly memorable and some of the actors playing the thieves give performances are downright embarrassing.  As such, you never really care much about whether the thieves are going to escape or if the Renwicks are going to face justice.  All you care about is whether or not the dogs are going to be okay.  If your film is going to feature a lot of scare scenes featuring dogs, try not to cast cute Dalmatians.

For the most part, Hounded is a predictable film.  It’s short but it seems much longer.  The version of The Most Dangerous Game just isn’t dangerous enough.

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