In Huff, a mother of three sends her daughters out into the world with a bag full of money to make better lives for themselves. Unfortunately, the monetary supply is donated by an unwilling stepfather named Huff, who seeks revenge and the return of his financial assets. Loosely based on the story of The Three Little Pigs, Huff is a surprisingly original account of an old familiar tune.
Despite the fact that The Three Little Pigs is commonplace, the combination of Cort Howell’s impressive writing and Paul Morrell’s vision create an interesting, newer world that’s yet to be explored. Many things contribute to the film’s authenticity. For example, the setting composes a middle-of-nowhere, gritty scene. The atmosphere has a somewhat southern feel to it, almost like a western. Even the music exemplified a country twang to the movie, which ultimately added to its harshness. The movie makes tasteful references to the original tale, like the girls names, but the allusions are not so prominent that they appear hackneyed.
Another thing that’s very intriguing about the film is the display of religion. Huff recites the bible on a daily basis. He also flirts with his teenage stepdaughters. What does this mean for our Christian leading role? Is he truly a man of god? Is he the antichrist? Or is the entire concept of religion merely a hoax used to acquire what one desires? Each person can interpret the film in his or her own way, but it seems to show how easily religion can be used as a weapon if placed in the wrong hands. It’s also evident that many people who claim to know the word of god are false prophets. Huff illustrates how once religion has been brought into the mix, it’s a difficult cage to break free from.
Charlie O’Connell’s talent shines through each scene as he shows what a great leading man he can be. His asthma-induced rage is shockingly frightening for a man who is so crippled. It’s very unusual for a serial killer to have a disease or disorder that would hinder his or her ability to capture prey, but it actually designs a deeper layer of The Three Little Pigs metaphor. Although Huff’s asthma tends to slow him down, his inhaler acts as a booster, helping him breathe new life into each terrorizing moment. Charlie O’Connell’s ability to stay in character through the entire filming process is awe-inspiring. Each line is delivered with a huff-and-puff, rigid airiness, characteristic of a night prowler. His performance is especially striking due the fact that the entire image of the wolf is one that he creates alone. O’Connell wasn’t lucky enough to have the help of a mask, makeup, or any special effects to play his villain. The fear that he brings to the role came from subtle movements, growls, and a darkness that he carried behind his eyes.
Marie Bollinger is also fantastic as Brixi, the eldest daughter in the family. She displays leadership and courage, just like an older sister would. Elina Madison is a convincing mid-life crisis mother, and Natasha Alam, previously known for her role as Yvette on HBO’s True Blood, really gets to show her strengths in this film as Huff’s girlfriend. Elly Stefanko is great as Shay too, especially for this being her first film. She holds a balance between the weakness of a little girl, and the bravery of a survivor. Clint Howard has the magical ability to enrich every scene he’s in, but at the same time, blend in with the rest of the cast just enough to maintain the story. He doesn’t try to steal the spotlight, he only enhances each actor’s performance that he works with. The entire cast’s convincing chemistry formed a tangible group of family and friends.
If wolves are known for their chasing skills, does that mean that Huff will inevitably hunt down and kill everyone who prevents him from regaining his money? Or, like the Canis lupus of North America, will he eventually be overpowered and driven away? Scout out Huff when it comes to DVD, and find out for yourself.