Movie: The Wild Hunt
My Rating: 4 stars
Sex, humiliation, and murder. Welcome to the darker side of LARPing. You know, those guys you see running around in armor or leather, and speaking in olden tongues, at the Renaissance Faire. Sure, they look pretty dorky out there, speaking in Elvish (or Klingon, depending on the convention). And, you may feel really good about yourself as you make fun of them to your hipster friends. But damn, are they having a good time! Those knights, elves, and wenches are definitely having loads of fun out there, so joke’s on you, Mr. Craft Beer Lumbersexual.
Believe it or not, I know a thing or two about how much fun you can have running around the countryside in a costume. It kind of gives you a license to behave differently than in real life. Surely you know better than anyone that I’ve gotten a little carried away with a costume from time to time. So, I can definitely understand how one of these LARPing conventions could take an ugly turn—especially when you’re dealing with people who are roleplaying as darker characters, like Vikings, or barbarians, or the village prostitute. That’s practically a recipe for some kind of violent, real-life altercation. Passions are running high, and those are real swords and maces! And, that’s exactly what happens in this story.
Erik is just a regular guy, but he decides to crash a big, medieval, reenactment weekend to win back his ex-girlfriend Lyn. She’s playing a Nordic princess, captured by savages in one of Quebec’s largest LARPing conventions. It was Erik’s brother Bjorn who introduced her to the scene, so he’s also there. That’s convenient, because Erik also needs to talk to Bjorn about their ailing, elderly father’s care. Two birds with one stone. But what Erik doesn’t anticipate is that his girlfriend is playing the highly sought-after Princess Evelynia of Icy Manor (or something like that), and that there are hordes of warriors prepared to defend her with all of their big, sharp weapons. So much for getting a few moments alone with her to quietly discuss their relationship. It certainly doesn’t help that the characters are all really pissed off that Erik showed up in his street clothes and refuses to stay in character. Plus, Lyn very much enjoys being treated like a princess, so she’s happy right where she is. This isn’t going to be quite as easy as Erik thought.
I really liked this movie. It’s dark and unpredictable. Plus, I think the director, Alexandre Franchi, really has a sense of humor about the whole LARPing phenomenon while still respecting the movement. But, he’s poking fun from the inside. He approaches the activity from a place of love, not scorn. And, the movie isn’t just for people who enjoy roleplaying. This movie will be interesting to anyone who likes to contemplate human nature. My brother suggested this movie to me and I’m really glad he did. Because, this small, independent movie really is a gem. (Although, it took me a shamefully long time to get around to writing about it). Oh well. Better late than never!