How Low Would You Go?
What would you do if days, and then weeks, went by without a single morsel of food passing your lips? How far would you go to fill that deep hunger—of both food and panic—before you just gave up? This is the premise of 2009’s Hunger, a film written by L. D. Goffigan and directed by Steven Hentges (Jacklight).
What is your instinct? Hunt for food? Kill for your very basic needs? What if you are locked underground with a group of strangers, all suffering the same insatiable panic? How low would you go to survive? I couldn’t stop asking myself all of these questions while I watched the movie, because I found that I had no answers. I truly don’t know what I would do in order to survive, and I hope I never have to find out.
In Hunger, an unknown scientist (Bjorn Johnson) is conducting an experiment to see just how humans will react when quarantined without their basic animalistic needs. What will they do in order to survive? How truly animalistic will they become to reach the end of the rat race? Will people remain true to themselves, or will they falter out of desperation?
As they strive through all of their emotions (panic, anger, fear, and so forth), the scientist watches and waits. He keeps a diary on his subjects as if they are merely animals being used as pawns.
It’s dark and simple, but Hunger captures the feelings of desolation a person can feel when surrounded by strangers in an odd predicament. The cave they are stranded in is dark and dank, as is the situation in which they sit.
It isn’t long before the viewer discovers what these people have in common. Why are Jordan (Lori Heuring), Grant (Linden Ashby), Luke (Joe Egender), Anna (Lea Kohl), and others there? Why did the scientist choose them? They don’t know each other. They’ve never seen each other before. Like any movie with this type of premise, you are waiting for the “why” factor. Why are they there? That question is answered, but I would have liked to have seen this part dragged out a bit more to continually promote why they were chosen and to let the viewer decide if these people really should have been there.
A person’s body can’t withstand much more than 30 days without food. Day 20 finds this group eating roaches. When the bugs run out, all they have is each other to turn to. The unthinkable presents itself: How hungry will they get before they turn to the unthinkable? The scientist’s hypothesis was 30 days. What he didn’t bet on was the strength of the human will. What will win—the will to live or the will to humanly survive?
Hunger forces the viewer to ask those questions. It pushes your back against the wall and leaves you no choice but to surrender yourself to your very basic need—the same need the strangers had who were trapped. The movie is dark and desolate, yet not out of the realm of possibilities. I highly recommend it, and immediately added Hentges’ Jacklight to my list of must-sees.