Hunting for the Hag (2023) 

A small group of friends head out to investigate a witch known as The Hawthorne Hag in an effort to catch her on camera. 

Written by Paul A. Brooks and Sierra Renfro and directed by Brooks, the film mixed traditional filmmaking with found footage style to dubious results. The story here is not original in the least bit and it takes pretty much all the expected turns with a few new elements here and there, but nothing to write home about. This is a film that had potential and seems to have wasted it by taking the easy way out in terms of story beats and supposed twists. Let’s be honest here, looking for a witch in the woods is not exactly a new concept. Meeting rednecks with ill intent either. Using rape as a threat/plot point is trite at this point in cinema history. As mentioned above, the film had potential, but it went for the easy way out on many fronts, and this leads it to having a story that doesn’t really grab the viewer and leaves them untouched and un-scared.  

The cast here is ok, decent for the material, just right here and there. There’s a lot of screaming and being scared, but never do they really connect with the viewer and make you care about their character’s outcome. The leads, the ladies here, seem to want to do more with their parts, but they must follow their script and make it work. The redneck actors are annoying as can be, so win? It’s hard to tell if the performances are bland or just uninspired due to the script and direction being weak.  

When it comes to the cinematography, there are two styles here, mixed together here and there, creating a bit of an annoyance for those who do not enjoy found footage. The found footage parts are shot basically as expected, shaky cam, weird angles, purposefully obtuse. The more classically filmed sequences look decent, but nothing exactly great here. The work on this helps make the film watchable, but it doesn’t exactly elevate anything.  

Hunting for the Hag is a frustrating watch, a film that had potential and wasted it. As a story, it’s too generic to be memorable with performances that are either not quite on point or woefully uninspired. The cast isn’t bad, they’re just not great. The switch back and forth between traditional and found footage leads one to think that the film lacked direction or commitment to either style. Most of the film is a letdown and some bits are downright bad. It’s not something that should be suggested to many people except for those who think that yet another “lost in a remote location with a camera” film sounds fun.