Skip to main content
The Independent Critic

Daniel Roebuck,  Jasmine Williams, Alexa Maris, Sierra Renfro, Thomas A. Jackson, Steve Christopher, Nathan Brandon Gaik
Paul A. Brooks
Paul A. Brooks, Sierra Renfro
85 Mins.
Lion Heart Distribution

 Movie Review: Hunting for the Hag 
Add to favorites

Tara (Jasmine Williams), Candy (Sierra Renfro), and Beth (Alexa Maris) are most certainly taking care of business in co-writer/director Paul A. Brooks's Hunting for the Hag, a found footage meets hillbilly Americana horror flick released by up-and-coming indie distributor Lion Heart Distribution on April 2nd. 

The film follows the aforementioned adventuresome trio as they venture deep into the woods of central Illinois to hunt for a mysterious legend known as The Hawthorne Hag. Apiring to capture "The Hag" on camera for the first time, wannabe doc filmmaker Tara ropes her friends into joining her on an adventure that we just about know from the opening moment isn't going to go as planned.

Hunting for the Hag features longtime character actor Daniel Roebuck (The Fugitive, U.S. Marshals, Final Destination, Rob Zombie's The Munsters) along with local talent from both Los Angeles and central Illinois. As a native Hoosier living right next door to Illinois, it's exciting to see this region get some cinematic attention. 

As the legend goes, "The Hag" is an icon of Illinois folkore. Supposedly named Ollie Yarger, she inhabited Hawthorne, IL in the early 1800s before a false accusation of murdering a child led to her early demise by hanging. Now, she haunts the woods and is ready to issue revenge on those who killed her. 

Inspired in part by the 80's horror title Mother's Day, Hunting for the Hag is a beast all its own. Available for rental and purchase on streaming services such as Amazon, Vudu, and various cable systems across North America, Hunting for the Hag gives off Blair Witch vibes early on until the film goes hog wild. 

I guess I should say hag wild. 

While our entire leading trio is a blast, Sierra Renfro gives one of those performances that makes you say "What else has she done?" as the closing credits are scrolling by. Also credited as co-writer for the film, Renfro possesses an abundance of charisma and clearly understands every nuance of the film. 

Hunting for the Hag likely isn't going to please the hardcore gorehounds. However, for those seeking effective chills and strong storytelling there's an awful lot of fun to be had here. The film's folkish vibe comes across quite effectively and adds a layer of complexity to what initially seems like a straightforward found footage flick. 

I'm a longtime fan of Daniel Roebuck's work and it's awesome seeing him here in more of a featured but important role. Lensing by K.R. Brooks is quite effective in amplifying the storytelling from Renfro and Brooks. Original music by Ryan Aldrich also deserves the kudos. 

It's always refreshing to watch an indie horror project with some meaning behind it and it's clear that Brooks understands that the best horror comes when we've gotten invested in the people and the place. That's exactly what happens here and it makes Hunting for the Hag one to watch.

Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic