Absolutely bonkers from start to finish, Project Wolf Hunting is a Korean action horror flick with major bite. The less one knows going in the better, as the film is chock full of gasp-worthy surprises. Think: last year’s horrifically nasty The Sadness, but on a massive boat. While this one certainly wasn’t too high on my list of most anticipated titles going into TIFF, I was shocked to find that I actually ended up loving it anyway. Kim Hong-sun, who also directs, delivers big time on gnarly gore, brutal violence, and relentless action. If this sounds like one’s cup of tea, waste no time rushing to see Project Wolf Hunting as soon as humanly possible.
47 Korean criminals who fled to the Philippines are now finally being extradited! After a clearly unstable victim infiltrates the arrival of the criminals in a crazed suicide bombing, drastic measures must be taken. All aboard the Frontier Titan freighter! The massive ship will house innumerable detectives and sparse crew to safely transport the deranged psychopaths from Manila to Korea for long-awaited extradition. No cameras and no inmate rights await the prisoners on board; certainly, after the bombing, the special ops team isn’t willing to take any chances. Inmates hatch a sinister plot to overtake the freighter by way of unrelenting violence towards those guarding them. For the first act of Project Wolf Hunting, the movie safely skirts along as one’s typical thriller.
It is only upon the criminals proceeding to seize control that the true horror of the film emerges. What else is on board with them? By structure alone, it is difficult to guess who will be left standing by movie’s end, and what will be left of them. The cast of characters is particularly large, providing ample opportunity to deliver on memorable kills. An unstoppable killer that’s basically Jason Vorhees meets Resident Evil’s The Tyrant hacks and slashes his way through every human he comes into contact with. His entrance is a back-breaking, bombastic highlight that immediately centers him as a threat. Blood spurts everywhere as heads are crushed and ribcages torn out—this figure savagely tears his way to a high body count that would make Jason blush. Can the gun-happy criminals even stand a chance?
Mastermind Kim Hong-sun hopes you won’t see through the minor cracks in his grand opus. As a result of the neverending slaughter, Project Wolf Hunting is decidedly a bit short on character beats, honed in on instead delivering a maddening break-neck pace from the minute it lets the metaphorical cat out of the bag. While this personally didn’t bother me, it may prove to be impenetrable for wider audiences. Eventually, an elaborate backstory involving experiments and conspiracies made the Resident Evil survival horror loving heart of mine skip a beat. Project Wolf Hunting feels manufactured specifically for the video game lover in mind. Come for the setting, but stay for the carnage!
Project Wolf Hunting screened at 2022’s Toronto International Film Festival. Ahead of the fest, it already made sales internationally, and has been sold to Well Go USA for North American Distribution.