Project Wolf Hunting
by Brandon Thomas
South Korean filmmakers have never been shy about putting carnage on screen. From I Saw the Devil to Train to Busan, South Korean cinema often runs gloriously blood red. With Project Wolf Hunting, the ante has been upped considerably as geysers of gore are jettisoned out of every original – and disgustingly created – human orifice. Dead Alive this ain’t, but it’s not for lack of trying.
In Project Wolf Hunting, a cargo ship has been chartered to transport a group of South Korean prisoners back home from the Philippines. Along for the ride is a small unit of Korean police, a two-person medical team, and the ship’s crew. However, unbeknownst to them, there’s also a small group stowed away in the bowels of the ship protecting an undead creature that has ties to Japanese experimentation during World War 2.
Large-scale horror movies on boats petered out in the late 90s with films like Deep Rising (a good one!) and Virus (a bad one!), all but killing this particular subgenre. The isolation the open ocean provides is second only to deep space when it comes to a great horror movie setting. Project Wolf Hunting taps into that fear that naturally comes from battling the elements. The fact that there’s also a creature and a dozen psychotic felons only adds to the mounting anxiety.
No one is going to go out of their way to congratulate Project Wolf Hunting for its originality. The film proudly wears its influences on its sleeve with Con Air and Overlord being the most obvious. We’ve seen a lot of these beats and eventual reveals dozens of times before, but this film’s infectious energy makes all of that an afterthought. Even at two hours, Project Wolf Hunting never drags and, at times, keeps layering new craziness to an already bonkers film.
Director Kim Hong-sun must have challenged himself to use every kind of action beat imaginable in this movie. There are fantastic shootouts in confined spaces, brutal knife fights, and a few truly gnarly hand-to-hand combat scenes. However, the real star is the gore effects. A movie this wet and goopy hasn’t been seen in a while – and boy, does it make an impression. The gore never feels overly realistic but fits perfectly into the over-the-top approach the filmmakers establish early on.
With no desire to reinvent the genre wheel, and a solid handle on action and gore, Project Wolf Hunting is a bloody bit of South Korean fun that’s well worth your time.