Eye For Film >> Movies >> The Hunger: Season 1 (1997) Film Review
Everyone hungers for something - love, youth, power, food and, in Tony and Ridley Scott's case, money. This project smells, in execution if not in concept, of an unexpected tax bill.
Despite the subject matter, The Hunger is nothing much to do with the 1983 film of the same name, also directed by Tony Scott and also starring David Bowie (the host of Season 2). It's a 22 part TV series of self-contained half hour supernatural dramas, in which the only certainty is that at some point there will be soft focus sex to bad synthesiser music. Each episode is hosted by Terence Stamp, camping it up in a series of outlandish outfits, as he enigmatically intones epigrammatic words of wit and wisdom. These sections are well shot and amusingly sinister, hinting at what they were trying to achieve with the whole.
The Hunger fails, as at no point did the creators sit down and decide at the very least what tone they were aiming at, opting instead to lurch uneasily between risible scares and surprising moments of humour, sometimes ill-judged, sometimes effective, but mostly unintentional. The stories, featuring big (or, at least, recognisable) names, such as Daniel Craig, Margot Kidder, Balthazar Getty and Chad Lowe are of a higher standard, but there are only two episodes out of 22 that don't look cheap and cobbled together.
Clearly, the sex scenes were a contractual funding obligation, as under no circumstances could anyone pretend that they are integral to the plot of more than a third of the stories - a generous estimate at that. Halfway through the series, I could second-guess to within 30 seconds when the femme fatale would strip down to stockings and heels and start grinding away with a man who remained fully dressed and vaguely disinterested throughout. Only a 13-year-old boy at boarding school could find it erotic.
The designers are caught in an unfortunate time loop that keeps dragging them back to the Eighties, but perhaps this is related to budget constraints as the same ugly black dress cropped up again and again on different actresses.
The Hunger was shown on the Showtime channel and was a minor cult hit. In many aspects, it's original and fun, but the quality is too random and the stories so slight that it's mostly pretty images of nonsense tied together with a bit of spookiness and dull sex. The end result is silly and cheap, yet curiously entertaining enough that I could sit through all 11 hours at once without contemplating suicide.Reviewed on: 02 Nov 2005