Review by Frank Plowright
Reading some horror graphic novels gives off a feeling of going through the motions, of repeating familiar scenes in largely familiar ways. The Hunt isn’t like that. Colin Lorimer mixes ancient Irish myths, quite possibly of his own devising, with the reality of modern, 21st century Ireland.
When she’s young Orla Roche sees an ancient spirit sucking the life from her father. Only her grandmother believes her, because she has knowledge of the Sluagh, deceitful and dangerous demonic creatures that can masquerade as human. By the time Orla’s in her mid-teens, The Hunt’s present, she’s disappeared and been found several times, has been sectioned and is on medication. It’s taught her to conceal what she really knows from everyone but her gran, no matter the horrors she sees.
Lorimer builds these extremely well, instituting a feeling that something could happen at any time, and the way he draws such a precise and realistic version of reality heightens the tension. The eye for detail is combined with a great talent for design to create the supernatural threats, these the opposite of his ordered reality with facial features haphazardly placed and dangling, flailing body parts. They’re terrifying. As intended.
However, Lorimer’s even better than that. He gradually has Orla and her Gran divulge secrets, and what’s revealed is even more terrifying, tragic in fact. It elevates the horror from the visceral to the emotional. The ending matches the tone of the entire story, and it’s certainly imaginative and consistent, although whether it’s what readers will want is another matter. Still, that’s the storyteller’s prerogative.
You can pick up a run of the mill horror graphic novel, or you can look for The Hunt.